National Animal Identification and Tracing

If you are in charge of cattle or deer, you must make sure they are tagged with National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) tags and registered in the NAIT system.


21 June 2018: Understanding of NAIT is improving but further progress to be made

18 May 2018: NAIT to be improved – Government

About NAIT

The National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) programme records:

  • the location and movement of individual animals (for example to another farm or to slaughter)
  • contact details for the person in charge of an animal.

Why we need NAIT

NAIT helps MPI to respond quickly in case of a serious biosecurity outbreak or natural disaster. Traceability is also important for food safety and quality assurance programmes.

NAIT helps to protect:

  • stock from disease and harm
  • farmers' livelihoods
  • New Zealand's reputation and economy.

Requirements for cattle and deer

If you are in charge of cattle or deer, you must register with NAIT and meet NAIT requirements, including:

  • tagging your animals with NAIT-approved ear tags
  • registering your animals in the NAIT system
  • recording and confirming animal movements
  • keeping your personal details up-to-date.

Tag your animals

Cattle and deer must be tagged with NAIT-approved RFID tags. There are 2 main types of NAIT tag – choose the type that best suits your animals and situation. The NAIT website has details of the types of tags you can use and how to place them on your animals.

When to tag

You must tag cattle and deer within 6 months of birth, or before they're moved off the farm – whichever is first.

Animals exempt from tagging

In some cases, cattle and deer don't have to be tagged – for example, you don't need to tag bobby calves or dangerous animals going to a meat processor. But you do still need to be registered with NAIT if your animals are exempt. Registration links you as the person in charge of animals to a certain property.

Register your animals

After you've tagged your animals, make sure you register them on the NAIT system. This is a database that allows tracing of individual animals by their tag.

You must register within one week of tagging or before the animal moves off the farm - whichever is sooner. 

Record animal movements in NAIT

If you send animals off your property, you must record a 'sending movement' with NAIT within 48 hours. If you receive animals on to your property, you must confirm you have received them within 48 hours. You also need to record things like deaths and missing animals. The NAIT website explains how to update animal details in the NAIT system.

Who to contact

If you have questions about NAIT tagging:

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