The Act to bring New Zealand's long-dormant geographical indications (GI) registration scheme into force has been passed by parliament.

GIs are used to signal that products originating from a particular geographical region possess certain characteristics or qualities attributed to that location. Well known examples include Champagne and Scotch whisky.

It is expected that the registration scheme will be in force by around March or April 2017.

This will allow 'interested persons' to register a GI in relation to wine or spirits.

We are still waiting on the final details of the scheme, including its costs, but people who wish to register a GI can begin preparing now.

There are two types of GIs that can be registered:

  • New Zealand GIs
  • Foreign GIs.

New Zealand GIs will require a large amount of supporting information. The information will need to define the geographical indication, and set out how the defined geographical region contributes to the wine or spirit.

For some applicants, the costs of compiling the level of information required will be high. It is also expected that the cost of applying for and renewing a registered GI will be substantial.

Foreign GIs will be able to be registered in New Zealand where there is a corresponding GI recognised in its country of origin. Registration for these GIs should be simpler to obtain, as they will be based off the registration in the country of origin.

If you are a wine or spirit producer, part of a representative producer organisation, or the owner of a GI in another country, please get in touch if you would like more information about the scheme and its requirements.