Sending goods overseas
General Advice from Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFAT) to Emergency Coordination Centre staff when receiving offers to send unsolicited goods to the Pacific Islands ( February 2017)
General Advice from Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFAT), New Zealand
Collections and sending goods
  • Our focus: We focus our humanitarian response on responding to specific requests for support from the affected Government. This helps to make sure that our funding and supplies are appropriate and meet the needs of people affected by the emergency.
  • Why not: Although well meaning, unfortunately there are quite a few reasons why we would advise against holding a collection and sending goods. These reasons are mainly around the costs involved, difficulties with arranging distribution at the other end, the impact on the local economy, and that they often clog up systems and stop urgent supplies such as medical equipment or shelter supplies from getting through.
  • As a last resort: If you do intend to go ahead with it, please do follow the advice on MFAT’s website paying particular attention to costs involved, and try to provide some good guidance on what items might be appropriate. For example, making up ‘household kits’ could be an option, by asking for donated pots, pans, utensils, tea towels that can be put in a bag for easy distribution. It is also very important to keep an itemised list of everything you are sending to make sure you have the right information for customs and to help with distribution at the other end.
Who to make donations to
What is the best way to support?
  • The best way to support the response right now is to donate to an appeal by an organisation already working on the ground such as a NZ non-government organisation.
  • Why NGOs? These organisations have existing partners, know the local context and have clear systems and processes for assessing what’s needed. Where possible, they will source supplies locally, which supports the local economy and is the most efficient and cost-effective way of getting help to those who need it.
How do I donate?
  • You can find information about these organisations through the Council for International Development
The Council for International Development is the national umbrella agency of international development organisations based in Aotearoa New Zealand.
For more information, contact Rotary New Zealand World Community Service (RNZWCS) Ltd
RNZWCS is a member of CID and also has Memoranda of Understanding with Rotary Australia World Community Service (RAWCS), Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA) and Interplast Australia & NZ.  Stuart: email: or ph 03 359 9218.