Drone Regulations in New Zealand

Drone Regulations in New Zealand

Written by Kimberly

If you are travelling in New Zealand and want to use a drone to photograph some of our stunning scenery, make sure to do things the Kiwi way and respect the land, the wildlife and the drone flying rules. Learn all about drone laws in NZ.

General Rules for Flying Drones

If you are operating a drone, it must be safe to operate and not weigh more than 25 kg. Take all measures that you can to eliminate any threat to people, property and other aircraft.

Only fly your drone in daylight and no more than 120 metres above the ground. Be sure to get the permission of anyone you wish to fly above.

Remember your drone is considered an aircraft and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) establishes drone regulations in New Zealand. Review all of their drone regulations. Flying your drone, otherwise known as a Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), means complying with CAA rules. Be a considerate and responsible drone pilot and comply with the drone laws in NZ.

Drones in National Parks or Other Department of Conservation Land

New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DOC) oversees the national parks and other public conservation areas. To fly a drone, you need to apply for a permit with the DOC. The DOC website provides helpful information for obtaining a permit.

For public lands not managed by the DOC, such as local parks and government buildings, permission from the appropriate local council is required. Check here for council rules.

Drones Over Marine Mammals or Near Birds

In both these instances, make sure to review the rules and guidelines set forth by the DOC. It’s an offence to disturb or harass marine mammals or protected birds.

For marine mammals, you may not fly your drone closer than 150 metres above them, and do not chase, herd or in any way disturb marine mammals. To fly closer than 150 metres, you need a DOC permit. Make sure to read their policies on marine mammals.

Though it’s not necessary to apply for a DOC permit, take caution when flying your drone near birds. Do not fly closer than 50 metres in any direction to both shorebirds and seabirds. If a bird becomes disturbed, discontinue your drone activity. Visit the DOC’s website for complete guidance on flying drones near birds.

Drones Over Private Land

Flying your drone over private land requires the landowner’s consent. Hefty fines are possible if you don’t. Be respectful and get permission.

Drones are popular for aerial photographs of New Zealand’s breathtaking landscape. But, please be sure to comply with the drone laws in NZ to avoid any penalties.

At Mighway we make it easy to take the road less travelled. Enjoy your stay in New Zealand!