New Zealand has complicated rules about where you can and cannot fly drones. You need to follow the laws of the Civil Aviation Authority and those of the local government which vary by region.
Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Rules
- These rules apply if you are flying within 4km of an airfield.
- If you are flying near an airport in controlled airspace, you need to get authorization from Air Traffic Control for each flight, unless you are flying “shielded”
- If you are flying near an airdrome that is not controlled airspace, you need to follow these rules or fly “shielded.”
- You can only fly drones at night if you are “shielded”
Local Government Rules
- In addition to following CAA rules, you need to follow the rules of the regional council.
- You need to get permission from each landowner to fly over private land.
National Park Rules
- You are required to get a concession to fly a drone in any National Park.
- Concessions typically take several weeks for approval and are individual per National Park. Each carries a $65 application fee regardless of approval.
- DOC does not recommend that you apply for a permit in the following parks due to low chances of approval.
- Tongariro National Park
- Abel Tasman National Park
- Arthur’s Pass National Park
- Egmont National Park
- Nelson Lakes National Park.
Flying Over People
- You are required to get people’s permission if you fly them, regardless if you are taking pictures or video.
- If you are flying over a large group of people or event, you are required to get a Part 102 Unmanned Aircraft Operator Certificate.
Overall, New Zealand has stringent rules and regulations to fly drones that vary based on where you are.