Air safety officials have relaxed the list of items banned from aircraft cabins in New Zealand.

Knitting needles and pocket knives are now permitted, though passengers still cannot carry on ice-skates, pool cues, hockey sticks or skateboards.

Cricket bats, knives with blades longer than 6cm and harpoons remain banned.

After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, airlines worldwide cracked down on all manner of potential weapons. New Zealand safety officials relaxed the rules in 2002, with knitting needles and small knives no longer regularly seized.

Some countries, including the United States and Australia, have stricter rules.

Aviation Security Service general manager Mark Everitt said that much "ambiguity" around what was allowed on planes had now been removed.

Another pleasing aspect was that airlines had now agreed that they would help to re-unite passengers with any items that might be taken from them before flying.