27 Jul 2012

Ivory artefacts seized in Napier

6:33 pm on 27 July 2012

Sixty-nine pieces of ivory have been seized from a Napier house.

The Wildlife Enforcement Group seized the ivory on Wednesday after a carved elephant tusk addressed to the Napier property was intercepted at the International Mail Centre in Auckland.

The tusk had been posted from France without the required import permit.

Forensic tests will be done on the items, which include statues and carvings made from endangered elephant ivory.

Police say a Napier man is assisting them with inquiries. A senior investigator, Dylan Swain, says anyone convicted of illegally importing the items could get up to five years in prison or a fine of up to $100,000.

Ivory trading was banned in 1989 by 175 countries, including New Zealand.