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X-rays and detector dogs


X-ray machine

The fruit fly outbreaks of the mid-1990s prompted Cabinet to allocate $20m to strengthen the quarantine service, and central to this was the development of a detector dog programme. Individual food items carried by passengers remained a high-risk area, and dogs could be trained to detect food concealed on passengers, in luggage, or in mail. The first dog teams met the public in 1996, and a year later there were six teams working at Auckland Airport and another at Christchurch Airport. The quarantine service mostly used beagles at airports, because the dogs had a strong sense of smell and a non-threatening appearance.

X-ray machines were also introduced at airports and the Auckland international mail centre at the same time. Hand luggage and personal items were x-rayed at the airport, and postal items at the international mail centre.

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X-rays and detector dogs, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated