Arthritis New Zealand says health supplements like Arborvitae, which has been blocked from entering New Zealand, must be safe for the country as well as effective for the individual.

Arborvitae is made in Australia and marketed as an arthritis pain reliever and health supplement. The Ministry for Primary Industries has banned it from entering New Zealand as it poses a biosecurity risk due to the honey it contains.

Two Invercargill women, Thelma Buck and Ray Riley, say the product has made a huge difference to their lives by reducing the pain of arthritis and enabling them to sleep better and be more mobile. They fear the pain will return if they can no longer access the product.

Arthritis New Zealand Chief Executive Sandra Kirby says the charity recognises the challenge of living with arthritis, including pain and sleep disruption.

“Many people find products that give them relief and benefit, and they can be very specific to the individual. What helps one may not help another. We believe that supplements should be both effective for the individual and safe for the country.”

Ms Kirby commended Thelma Buck’s efforts to keep active. “Exercise is a great pain reliever for those who have arthritis,” she said.

Arthritis educators are available on the toll-free helpline 0800 663 463 to provide information on pain management and proven, safe options for self-care.



Arthritis New Zealand aims to improve the life of every person affect by arthritis. We are a national charity focused on raising awareness, advocating for those with arthritis and providing advice and support. For more information, phone the helpline 0800 663 463, find us on Facebook or visit


For more information contact:

Andrea Candy

Communications Coordinator

Arthritis New Zealand

DDI 09 523 8904


Sandra Kirby

Chief Executive

Arthritis New Zealand

DDI 04 472 5641

Mobile 027 419 8946