1 Required documentation and registration
1-1 Registering a vehicle for the first time in New Zealand
Under part 17 of the Land Transport Act 1998, a vehicle owner/importer must provide documentation that proves that they are legally entitled to lawful possession of the vehicle, and that the vehicle was designed and built to meet New Zealand’s vehicle standards. All used vehicles must have original documentation showing the details of their previous registration. The vehicle inspector must be satisfied with all documents provided and may request confirmation or additional information.
- A notarized copy of an original document (signed by a notary public) can be accepted if the original is not available.
All vehicles presented for registration must have a VIN assigned so they can be recorded in LANDATA for tracking and enforcement purposes, even if appropriate documentation is not provided. Entry certifiers must carefully check the VINs for any signs of tampering, by visually inspecting the vehicle identifier and surrounding area from behind. If this is not possible, the entry certifier may chemically remove the paint from the vehicle identifier and surrounding area for inspection purposes with the vehicle owner’s permission. If the vehicle owner refuses, the entry certifier must contact the Palmerston North Office to consider alternative options. A vehicle must not be certified if the vehicle identifier has not been inspected for signs of tampering.
If signs of tampering are detected, the vehicle must not be certified. The entry certifier must advise the Transport Agency Vehicle Standards team immediately (by telephone – please refer to the details in Introduction section 3), and attach suitable notes to the vehicle record using the notes screen.
Any documentation queries for imported used vehicles (including motorcycles) should be sent to:
NZ Transport Agency
Operational Standards and Guidelines
Private Bag 6995
Fax: 04 894 5011
Parallel-imported light new vehicles and new light vehicles presented by the New Zealand distributor without an LT4085N
A new light vehicle is required to have a pre-delivery inspection (PDI) before it can be certified for entry into service. This is carried out by an agent appointed by the manufacturer to ensure all safety systems are armed and operating correctly, and any outstanding warranty or safety recalls have been attended to.
An entry certifier processing a parallel-imported new light vehicle must retain a copy of the PDI checksheet to verify that the PDI has been carried out. The PDI check sheet must identify the name of the company that inspected the vehicle, date it was inspected and be signed by the person who carried out the inspection.
- A PDI is not required for a vehicle imported from Great Britain with a V308 registration document.
- If a vehicle has been written off after the PDI was issued, a new PDI will need to be carried out.
1 Proof of legal possession
(a) Vehicles previously registered
Table 1-1-1 and Table 1-1-2 describe the required documentation to prove legal entitlement to a vehicle (including motorcycles and mopeds).
Table 1-1-1. Proof of legal entitlement (vehicles previously registered)
Country of previous registration
For light vehicles:
For light vehicles:
For heavy vehicles:
To check the authenticity of the new types of de-registration or export certificates, scan or photocopy the original document. For certificates issued prior to 1 July 2012 (grey colour) the word "COPY"; appears in large type four times on the page, the document is authentic. For certificates issued after 1 July 2012 (blue colour), if the word 'COPY' appears in type six times (four in a ring around the centre and another two - one on each side), the document is authentic. The copy must be kept on the vehicle file as evidence that the authenticity check was carried out. To use an alternative method of checking authenticity, prior approval from the Transport Agency must be obtained.
For light vehicles:
If the current owner of the vehicle is not the last registered owner in Australia, the entry certifier must request a vehicle PPSR certificate (which must give a clear title, ie no third party security interest) at the website www.ppsr.gov.au (see Reference material 75 for a sample PPSR report. The vehicle owner must still have invoices, etc that give them title to lawful possession of the vehicle.
If the vehicle is border checked after 1 July 2013, the copy of the PPSR report will be available from the NZTA BIS database for all vehicles that have been flagged as damaged imports. There will not be a PPSR certificate in the BIS database for vehicles without a damage flag. To obtain a PPSR certificate (from the BIS database) for a vehicle border checked after 1 July 2013, contact the entry certifier Head Office (Technical Manager). If a vehicle has been previously registered in Australia it will be shown in the "NEVDIS details" section of the PPSR certificate and the state where the vehicle was registered will also be shown. The vehicle owner must still have invoices etc that give them title to lawfully possess the vehicle.
Some auction invoices may be accepted for proof of legal entitlement but not for proof of previous registration (see Reference material 69).
If a registration document or invoice contains the words ‘statutory’, ‘write-off’, ‘salvage’, ‘junked’ or ‘non-repairable’ the vehicle must be referred to a repair certifier
If the vehicle is identified as a 'statutory write-off', the entry certifier can contact the Transport Agency who will request the details regarding why the vehicle was written off.
For vehicles previously registered in countries other than Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong and Great Britain:
Table 1-1-2. Proof of legal entitlement (vehicles not previously registered)
Country of origin
2 Proof of compliance with vehicle standards
A vehicle owner/importer must provide documentation that proves that the vehicle complies with New Zealand’s legal requirements. Specific requirements depend on the vehicle’s class, date of manufacture and/or date of first registration. Documents not described in Table 1-1-3, or not displaying the correct Japanese characters, must be referred to the Transport Agency's Vehicle Standards team for assessment.
Further proof of both frontal impact standards and exhaust emissions compliance is required unless specifically mentioned in the table below.
Acceptable evidence of standards compliance
manufactured for the Australian market , or manufactured to Australian standards for other markets
Note: An ADR plate/label (other than red, green, blue or yellow) that has a place to record an approval number must have an approval number to be acceptable.
a used vehicle manufactured for the USA market
a new vehicle manufactured for the USA market
Note: This does not apply to low volume motorcycles. These motorcycles can be identified by the third character of the VIN, which will be a ‘9’. Boss Hoss motorcycles with 1B9 VINs are an exception and not LVVs.
a used light vehicle manufactured for the Canadian market
a new light vehicle manufactured for the Canadian market
Note: This does not apply to low volume motorcycles. These motorcycles can be identified by the third character of the VIN, which will be a ‘9’.
manufactured for European markets , or manufactured to European standards for other markets
Note: External projections standard not required if vehicle unmodified and a rear view mirror standard is listed.
manufactured for the Japanese market but not previously registered in Japan
a light vehicle manufactured in Japan for the Japanese market and previously registered in Japan
a vehicle manufactured outside Japan and previously registered in Japan
See Technical bulletin 27 for alternative proof of compliance from 2/6/2008.
or, for vehicles manufactured in Europe
and if the Japanese de-registration or export certificate does not show an acceptable emissions prefix code:
imported from Singapore
See Technical bulletin 27 for alternative proof of compliance from 2/6/2008.
a heavy vehicle previously registered in Japan
|a heavy vehicle previously registered in the European Union|
a heavy vehicle from other countries
- Further evidence may be required to prove compliance with approved frontal impact standards. For information on determining frontal impact compliance, see Vehicle structure 3-2 Determining frontal impact compliance.
- Further evidence may be required to prove compliance with approved vehicle exhaust emissions standards. For information on determining exhaust emission standard compliance, see Technical Bulletin 28 Exhaust emissions standard compliance.
A statement of compliance is acceptable evidence of standards compliance provided that it is in an approved format and contains all the information and declarations shown in the example (Reference material 19). The vehicle inspector must check that the standards listed are currently recognised in New Zealand. If a statement of compliance shows a valid European Whole of Vehicle Approval number (eg 2001/116 or later) the vehicle may be accepted for all standards except exhaust emissions.
A manufacturer is not obligated to issue a statement of compliance, and may charge a reasonable fee for issuing one.
A statement of compliance must be:
- completed as fully as possible. If a system or component is not certified as complying with a standard, it should be noted appropriately on the statement of compliance. However, vehicle manufacturers may attach a schedule listing the standards to which the vehicle was certified. In such cases, the statement of compliance should be annotated with ‘see attached schedule’ and must still be signed and completed
- issued by an authorised manufacturer’s representative recognised on the New Zealand Motor Industry Association’s (MIA) list (Note 1), or a manufacturer’s representative holding an appropriate position (eg homologation manager) with the vehicle manufacturer.
A statement of compliance may mention if a vehicle is subject to any open safety-related recalls. Vehicles are not to undergo certification if they still have open safety-related recalls logged by the manufacturer. Vehicle inspectors must ensure that all outstanding safety-related recalls (recorded on the statement of compliance) are carried out prior to certification. The vehicle owner will need to provide a letter from either the manufacturer’s representative (or a franchise dealer) stating that the recall has been carried out. A copy of the letter must be held on the vehicle file.
If a statement of compliance is issued by a New Zealand manufacturer’s representative, it must be accompanied by an original letter signed by the same representative on the manufacturer’s letterhead, unless the statement of compliance is copied directly onto the manufacturer’s original letterhead.
If a statement of compliance is issued by a manufacturer’s representative from outside New Zealand for a vehicle make shown on the MIA list, the vehicle inspector must confirm that documentation requirements are met, check that the standards listed are correct and provide a copy (eg fax) to the New Zealand-based representative for the vehicle make as shown on the MIA list.
If a statement of compliance is issued by a manufacturer’s representative for a vehicle make not recognised on the MIA list, the vehicle inspector must provide a copy of the statement of compliance to the Transport Agency's Vehicle Standards team (email@example.com) for validation. Once validation is confirmed, the vehicle inspector must confirm that documentation requirements have been met and that the standards listed are correct.
The New Zealand Motor Industry Association (MIA) has provided a list of manufacturers’ representatives who are authorised to issue a statement of compliance. This list is available on the Transport Agency website by contacting the Transport AgencyHelpdesk (0800 699 000) or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
In cases where a manufacturer has listed ‘Jisha 899’ or ‘Jisha 896’ instead of a Japanese technical standard, it can be taken to mean that the particular component or system complies with a Japanese technical standard required by New Zealand’s vehicle standards rules.
If a vehicle is presented for certification and there appears to be an error in the VIN on the vehicle documentation (eg de-registration certificate), the vehicle owner must get confirmation from the vehicle manufacturer or manufacturer’s representative that the VIN/chassis number on the vehicle is correct. This information must be forwarded to Vehicles SFtandards team for consideration.
Electronic signatures are acceptable.
An electronic copy of a statement of compliance can be accepted, provided that it was sent from the manufacturer’s homologation department and has been sent directly to the entry certifier from the homologation department.
2.2 Chassis ratings
A heavy vehicle must have a chassis rating approved by the Transport Agency before it can be registered for use on the road. A chassis rating is a set of data used to indicate the chassis’s maximum weight, as follows:
- For a vehicle first registered before 1 February 1989 that has not been modified on or after 1 April 2005, the chassis rating contains the gross vehicle mass, gross combination (if applicable) and maximum towed mass (if applicable), as approved or determined by the Transport Agency or a person appointed by the Transport Agency.
- For a vehicle first registered on or after 1 February 1989 or a vehicle that has been modified on or after 1 April 2005, the chassis rating contains the permitted maximum axle and/or axle-set masses (if available), gross vehicle mass, gross combination mass (if applicable) and maximum towed mass (if applicable), as approved or determined by the Transport Agency or a person appointed by the Transport Agency.
Reference material 37 shows the chassis rating request procedure and form templates.
A type designation number (TDN) must be shown on the documentation (ie de-registration certificates and completion inspection certificates) for vehicles manufactured outside Japan for the Japanese market. This indicates that the vehicle has been through the Japanese type approval system and complies with all applicable vehicle standards except frontal impact.
If a TDN is not shown on the Japanese documentation, other proof of compliance must be provided. Alternatively, the vehicle owner may apply for an exemption from the requirement to provide TDN information (see Technical bulletin 27). Some common class MA vehicle models manufactured outside Japan for the Japanese domestic market are shown in Table 1-1-4.
Evidence of previous registration in Japan is all that is required to prove compliance with the applicable standards for class L vehicles. Other classes of vehicles still require a TDN. The requirement to have a TDN on the Japanese registration documentation does not apply to class L vehicles.
Chrysler Jeep Cherokee vehicles are commonly imported as used vehicles from Japan. In many cases, the TDN has been removed from the vehicle documentation due to minor modifications. Jeep Cherokees imported from Japan with an industry model code of ‘E-7MX’ can be processed for entry certification with or without a TDN displayed on the vehicle documentation, provided they were border checked before 1 February 2008.
Table 1-1-4. Common class MA Japanese makes manufactured outside Japan
Class MA vehicle model
Country of manufacture
Accord Station Wagon CD3, CD7, CD8 and CE1
Civic Coupe EJ7
Belgium and Netherlands
AD Station Wagon R-MVFY10
Avensis AZT250, AZT251, AZT255
- If a vehicle is affixed with a 17 character ISO VIN, it will not have been manufactured in Japan for the Japanese domestic market with one exception:
- UD trucks began using 17 character ISO VINs for their Japanese domestic market vehicles in 2015).
2.4 Exemption from vehicle standards requirements
In cases where a vehicle cannot be shown to comply with one or more of the approved vehicle standards it is required to meet in order to be registered in New Zealand, a vehicle may be exempt from a requirement by the Transport Agency under section 166 of the Land Transport Act 1998, only if it is considered appropriate and the risk to public safety will not be significantly increased by granting the exemption. In addition to this, the Transport Agency must be satisfied that at least one of the following criteria is met:
- the requirement has been substantially complied with and further compliance is unnecessary
- the action taken or provision made in respect of the matter to which the requirement relates is as effective or more effective than actual compliance with the requirement
- the prescribed requirements are clearly unreasonable or inappropriate in the particular case
- events have occurred that make the prescribed requirements unnecessary or inappropriate in the particular case.
The Transport Agency may also apply certain conditions to the granting of an exemption.
The vehicle owner may apply for an exemption from vehicle standards requirements by submitting a completed application form (see Reference materials 36) to Assessments - Customer Access. Exemptions from Transport Agency rules are granted only in exceptional circumstances; it may take some time to fully consider applications.
Page amended 1 June 2019 (see amendment details).
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Pre-registration and VIN
- 3 Inspection and certification
- 1 Required documentation and registration
- 1-1 Registering a vehicle for the first time in New Zealand
- 1-2 Re-registering a vehicle
- 1-3 Customs-seized vehicles
- 1-4 Temporarily imported vehicles
- 1-5 Annex C: conditional operation of a vehicle
- 1-6 Specialist certification
- 1-7 Document availability
- 1-8 Inspection
- 1-9 The MR2A
- 1-10 Vehicle rechecks
- 1-11 Completing the inspection and certification process
- 2 Vehicle exterior
- 3 Vehicle structure
- 4 Lighting
- 5 Vision
- 6 Entrance and exit
- 7 Vehicle interior
- 8 Brakes
- 9 Steering and suspension
- 10 Tyres, wheels and hubs
- 11 Exhaust
- 12 Towing
- 13 Miscellaneous items
- 14 Alternative fuel system
- 15 Load restraints
- 16 Certificate of loading
- 1 Required documentation and registration
- 4 Technical bulletins
- 5 Reference materials