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New Zealand


New Member
Dec 22, 2017
I am going to New Zealand in February and would like to take a mavic pro but the rules seem onerous, do you have to apply for permission to fly over beaches and in the mountains?

I have seen the Find a drone operator | airshare NZ hub for drones and UAVs web site which states you need land owner permission and permission to fly over people. While I don't intend to fly over people it could happen, I don't see how you could possible obtain permission from people on a beach or half way up a mountain.

There is a lot of info relating to councils but does that cover national parks?

I would like to shoot in the following locations, I will keep at least 4km from any airport, do I require permission?

Mount Cook
Lake Wanaka
Lake Tekapo
Lake Taupo
Milford Sound
Catherdral Cove
Tongariro Crossing
Roy's Peak

For flying in NZ, the most important web site to keep in mind is this map of aviation no-fly zones:
Outside these no-fly zones, you can't fly over private property (without the permission of the owner), or over people or roads, or exceed 120m (400 ft) in height, or beyond line-of-sight (yeah, right :). As for public land - it depends. Beaches are usually OK (as long as you avoid people as noted above). However, a lot of public land (including a lot of the really scenic places) are managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC), which bans drones (without prior approval). In particular, all NZ National Parks are off-limits to drones, so that definitely rules out (from your list) Mount Cook, Milford Sound (there's also an airport no-fly zone there!), and the Tongariro Crossing.

This map - DOC Public Conservation Areas - shows the (ridiculously large) land managed by the NZ Department of Conservation. In principle, all shaded areas on this map are off-limits to drones. In practice, as long as you stay out of National Parks and obvious wildlife conservation areas (seals, penguins, etc.), you may be OK. No promises, though :) Again, from your list, flying over the water from the shores of the Lakes (Wanaka, Tekapo, Taupo) should be OK, as long as you avoid the aviation no-fly zones from the "" map. The very summit of the Roy's Peak trail appears to a small piece of land that's outside the DOC area. (However, expect a lot of wind in this area.) And according to the DOC map, Cathedral Cove is part of a DOC reserve. However, I see lots of drone videos from there - so as long as you fly mostly over the sea, and avoid people (good luck :), you should be OK.
Yeah most of them are DoC land and that’s going to mean permission from them.

The other thing you could do is to contact a local operator who works in the area and have a chat with them about how you might go about flying in the areas you are interested in. They will know if it’s easy, possible or practically impossible.

They should all know the regs (the Part 102 operators definately should) and are normally happy to chat to other people who are passionate about RPAS flying.

Just look at the marketplace section of the AirShare website and select a region.

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