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Can You Fly a Drone in New Zealand?

New Zealand, a remarkable island country with some of the most beautiful landscapes on earth, is an interest for many tourists who wish to fly their drones there.

Can you fly a drone in New Zealand?

According to New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority, you can fly regular consumer drones in the country without needing a license. Still, you must follow Part 101 rules when flying any unmanned aircraft and respect the laws and marine life.

You should keep a few factors and points in mind to ensure that you are not breaking the law when flying your drone in New Zealand, so keep reading for more information!

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Why fly a drone in New Zealand

From Lord of the Rings to The Hobbit, New Zealand is a place of wonders with landscapes, mountains, volcanos, and areas you cannot find anywhere else on this planet.

It has become a tourist attraction that brings in people from all over the world. People are also coming with drones.

New Zealand has relaxed drone laws and regulations compared to many countries worldwide, and we hope it remains like this for many years ahead. 

To fly your drone there and ensure there are no issues, you must know the rules and regulations when flying an unmanned aircraft on New Zealand territory, including Queenstown.

Still, before we get there, how do we bring a drone to New Zealand?

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Can you take a drone to New Zealand by plane?

You must get through customs to bring a drone from other countries worldwide to New Zealand.

According to their list of prohibited and restricted items[1], drones are not one of them. You can go through customs with a drone if you follow your country’s basic drone transportation laws.

Although you can clear customs with a drone in New Zealand, going through your country’s customs is another story, and you need to research if you can board a plane in your own country with a drone.

For instance, many countries will require you to remove the battery from the drones and take them in the cabin with you as the airplane cabin will be pressurized and does not allow temperature fluctuations.

Before departing for New Zealand with a drone from your country, ensure you can bring a drone on the plane. 

New Zealand customs has no specific rules on transporting a drone to the country. 

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Where are fly and no-fly zones in New Zealand?

An up-to-date shared map with all no-fly zones and restricted airspaces across New Zealand is promoted on the NZ CAA’s website to use before flying a drone.

With this map, you can see and explore before getting there and planning your trip to know if the area is restricted. 

Remember that the DJI Geolocation map may differ from any custom maps.

You can explore no-fly and restricted zones in New Zealand by accessing this link.

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What are the Part 101 drone rules in New Zealand?

Here are the Part 101 drone rules for New Zealand to ensure you won’t have a problem with the authorities.

  1. Always fly below 400 feet/120 meters from your takeoff point.
  2. Don’t fly over people without consent; stay a considerate distance from buildings.
  3. Keep your drone in sight at all times.
  4. Do not fly over private lands unless you have the owner’s permission.
  5. Keep a minimum distance of 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from airports, helipads, or aerodromes (or places where an aircraft may land).
  6. Do not fly drones at night unless you’re part of a shielded operation.
  7. Aircraft must not exceed 25 kilograms. 

If you cannot abide by these laws, you must apply for a Part 102 license and special flight permissions from the required parties where you want to fly your drone.

In New Zealand, some territories are owned by local councils. Some councils will let you fly over their land by following the Part 101 rules, while others require permission to fly over their lands. 

You should be able to check for more information on the custom no-fly zone map linked above.

In many scenarios where you cannot fly your drone, from private lands and houses to council lands and even in restricted airspaces, asking for consent may help you get approved to fly in some areas. 

There is also no specific distance to how far away you must fly from buildings, just noted as a “considerate distance” by CAANZ (Civil Aviation Authority New Zealand)

You may be able to fly your drone in New Zealand over beaches, in parks, and even over lakes, but beware that some places may be privately owned.

You will need the owner’s consent, and local authorities may regulate parks where you need permission to fly your drone there.

If you need more detailed information regarding New Zealand Part 101 drone rules, follow this link to their CAA website, drones section (link), and Part 101 (link).

You can also see their Share the Sky – drone rules brochure here and watch the New Zealand CAA Drone Campain Video below:

What is a shielded operation in New Zealand?

A shielded flight in New Zealand is where you fly your drone in some circumstances closer to airports and zones with restrictions near and below the point of the tallest manmade object (building, tower, etc.) or natural object (tree) where there cannot be a direct flight path of an aircraft, as the building shields the drone flight.

You can only fly your drone within a 100-meter zone (328 feet) of that shielded airspace.

In the case of a shielded operation flight, you don’t need to apply for permission to fly the drone in these areas.

If you fly within those 4 kilometers to an airport on a shielded flight, you must have a physical barrier such as trees and buildings where the maximum height of the object is equal to the maximum altitude of the drone and not be a direct line of sight to the airport.

You can watch below the New Zealand Shielded Operation video below:

You can also find more information about shielded operations in New Zealand here.

Can you fly a drone at night in New Zealand?

In New Zealand, you can only fly a drone at night if it is part of a shielded operation.

Do you need a Part 102 license to fly a drone in New Zealand?

You don’t need the Part 102 license to fly a drone in New Zealand, but the Part 102 certification will allow you to fly outside of Part 101 rules, such as flying drones over 25 kilograms, flying at night on an unshielded operation, etc.

If you need the Part 102 certification as your drone flight needs are outside of the Part 101 rules, you can apply for a Part 102 license here.

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How to charge your drone in New Zealand

Before departing to fly your drone in New Zealand, you must remember that their electrical system is different from the US and many other countries.

New Zealand has a dissimilar electric grid system with type 1 wall plugs and a current of 230/240 volts / 50hz. 

This current differs from the US and some other countries and territories using the 120v system. Therefore, know that your drone charger may NOT work in New Zealand without a proper adaptor and converter. 

What are the New Zealand CAA contact details?

If you want any extra information, you can find them on the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority (Drone Section): by accessing the link here, or by contacting the NZ CAA directly.

Email: or use this contact form.

1. Prohibited and restricted items (link)