Sending samples

Instructions for sending samples to the Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory.


Any samples incorrectly labeled, or samples that are not accompanied by sufficient documentation may be held on entry into New Zealand, with subsequent delays before they are released. Please assist us by following these guidelines:

MPI Permit

Our laboratory has a permit from the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) that permits the importation of samples for radiocarbon dating from overseas.

  • Please contact us to get a copy of our current MIP permit and include this in the package when you send us material from outside New Zealand.
  • Please write the MPI permit number on the outside of the package.

Materials such as ivory, clamshells, or coral are covered by the CITES agreement (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). Under this agreement, there is strict control governing the importation of these materials. Please note: you are responsible for arranging the necessary permit to export the sample from the country of origin.

We are unable to return spare material because of MPI quarantine requirements.

  • Samples should have non-contemporaneous materials such as rootlets removed before drying. Samples should be dried in a dust-free environment, and packed into clearly labeled heavy grade polythene bags. Please do not place paper labels in sample bags.
  • All packages should be labeled: 'Scientific samples only - no commercial value' and accompanied by sample submission forms. Please write the MPI permit number on the outside of the package.

Spare material may be used for improving in-house processes and student training. The sample can be destroyed on completion of the dating if required.

We recommend that samples are sent by courier or registered post. Please contact us before sending so we can track the progress of your samples.  Address the package to:

Attn: Assoc. Prof. Fiona Petchey

Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory
The University of Waikato Mailroom,
Property Services,
Gate 3a,
Silverdale Road,
Hamilton, 3216,
New Zealand

Phone: +0064 (7) 8384278.

It is our policy to notify all customers (by email) upon the receipt of their samples.