Drone Laws in New Zealand

Flying drones in New Zealand

In this post, you will find the current legislation for the use of drones in New Zealand.

At the other end of the world, breathtaking panoramas are waiting for you. The fascinating landscapes have served as a backdrop for many well-known films. You will surely find impressive motifs for drone flights in New Zealand. Here you will find everything you need to know.

Overview: Drone rules in N

Recreational use of drones allowed? Yes, without further requirements
Commercial use of drones permitted? Yes, without further requirements
Maximum Altitude:120 Meter (393,7 Fuß) in uncontrolled airspace.
Is drone insurance mandatory? No. Learn more about drone insurance here.
Does the drone need a badge?No.
Drone labels can be ordered here
Is a registration necessary? No.
Keep distance to airports
Respect the privacy of other people
Drone bans around airports

Further drone rules in New Zealand

You must always be able to see your drone with the naked eye during the flight. If you want to do FPV flights, an observer can also watch the copter.

Private drones in New Zealand should weigh no more than 25 kilograms.

In New Zealand, a multicopter may not fly closer than 4 kilometers around an airport.

Drones may only be used in daylight. An exception can be made if you fly within 100 meters of a hill (for example, a tower, a church) and do not rise higher than the elevation itself. Then it can be assumed that no other aircraft is flying as close. In New Zealand, one speaks of a shielded operation, for which no further conditions are to be fulfilled.

New Zealand does not distinguish between private and business drone flights.

Currently, I know nothing about mandatory insurance coverage for drones in New Zealand. Nevertheless, I recommend everyone to insure their copter.

Drone ban in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park

In public areas you need permission from the City or District Council. You can find more information in the links above.

Drone flights in national parks are only allowed if you have a permit, which costs 65 NZ $ for recreational flights. You can find application forms on the DOC website. It also lists the national parks they do not recommend you apply because the application will most likely be denied and you will have paid the fee for nothing. These national parks are:

  • Abel Tasman National Park
  • Arthur’s Pass National Park
  • Egmont National Park
  • Fiordland National Park
  • Mount Aspiring National Park
  • Nelson Lakes National Park
  • Paparoa National Park
  • Tongariro National Park

This list is subject to change. For example, the maximum number of permits for Fiordland National Park was reached in August 2019, which is why no more are issued until further notice.

Also note that the other national parks may have regulations that make normal drone flights difficult. For example, according to a notice board, Aoraki / Mt. Cook National Park has special landing sites for drones and most of them are on the Tasman Glacier, which is not easy to get to.

Good to know: Available frequencies are 5.8 GHz and 2.4 GHz

We have researched the listed drone regulations for New Zealand to the best of our knowledge. We cannot guarantee the correctness of the information. If you want to be on the safe side, contact the competent aviation authority. Alternatively, you can also ask the embassy in your country for further information about the regulations. Please leave us a comment when you receive news and/or gain experience with your copter in New Zealand!

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About the author

Since January 2015, we travel around the world. In our backpack we carry a camera drone which we use to capture the best places from a bird’s perspective. First we travelled with a DJI Phantom 2. But now we use several drones like the DJI Phantom 4 Pro+ or the DJI Mini 3 Pro. On our blog we share the best tips for you about travelling with a drone. If you have questions about this article or new information, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment!


  • Earnest Rapheal | 09.08.2018

    Hi, I am really happy to see the exact thinks which i was looking for. I have some personal questions. I have a mavic air and planning to take a trip to south islands New Zealand. can you please suggest some good places that I can fly legally or getting councils or doc approvals without much hassle.
    Thanks in Advance

  • Quentin | 09.08.2018

    I am visiting NZ again but on this occasion I will be bringing my DJI Spark. Many drone owners will know this is a very small drone with an all up weight of about 300g..

    It appears looking through the maps that there are too many safety regulations where one cannot fly in a scienic national park or pretty much anywhere where pilots are flying low level and you should contact the CAA to let them know you are there.

    I hope this is just to make you aware of other activity but not to spoil ones enjoyment.

  • Faisal Othman | 06.08.2019

    I’m from Malaysia wish to find out and advice me the requirement to fly drone and does it allowed NZ? Thanks

  • Drone Ranger | 20.02.2023

    Above website information is out of date and incomplete.
    Permission is required for ALL or any land you fly over which also includes roads,footpaths,roadsides and can include beachs and rivers.
    Additionally the official App Airshare is required to check for airspace restrictions, Do Not trust DJI app or similar.
    Police will attend if a drone operator is reported by a member of the public. If you are prosecuted for illegal drone operation you may not be able to travel and enter many other countries throughout the world.
    There is no approved use of international drone license in New Zealand, you must obey all NZ drone laws.

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