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All Drone Laws in New Zealand for 2023 (Complete Guide)

Updated in 2023 by Paul Posea
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height flight limit 1

400ft max height

cant fly over crowds of people 1

Don't fly over people

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Don't interfere with aircraft

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Only line of sight

New Zealand is an excellent destination for drone pilots. The beautiful country is a popular destination for grabbing panoramic images. The kiwis have some of the most liberal drone laws of any country.

Can I fly a drone in New Zealand?

Yes, you can fly a drone in New Zealand, and the landscape is superb! However whether you are going to fly for commercial applications or just for the sake of fun, you need to abide by some specific laws.

The regulatory body charged with overseeing drone rules and regulations is the New Zealand Civil Aviation. They are responsible for maintaining safety in New Zealand’s skies.

Failing to follow any rules and regulations can get you in trouble whenever you are flying your drone in New Zealand therefore, I highly recommend reading this article to the end.

Contact Information

If you feel a need to contact the authorities you can do so by using the following contact details

Email: drones@caa.govt.nz

Phone: +64(4)5609400

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What are the Drone Laws in New Zealand?

There are a few categories we need to take into account here depending on their weight and such.

To simplify everything I will put them into categories:

CAR Part 101

  • Operate aircraft below 25 Kg and ensure its safe for use
  • All necessary steps must be taken to prevent exposing others to risk 
  • Fly during the day
  • Prioritize manned aircraft
  • View the drone from your naked sight only.
  • Do not go over 120 m in height
  • Know your airspace restrictions
  • Keep 4 Km away from any aerodrome
  • Ask for permission before flying over anyone

CAR Part 102

Laws around 102 are flexible as they are mainly for extremely flexible users. Certification here is granted on a case basis after all assurances are met. 

  • Department of Conservation
  • Concerned with areas such as national parks
  • New Zealand Transport Authority and Local Council
  • Unmanned Aircraft Operator Certificate

Do you need a license to operate commercially in New Zealand?

This is another common question that most new drone pilots may have on their minds. You might be wondering whether you need a drone license to operate it commercially or not when it comes to flight in New Zealand.

The answer to this question is no. It is not necessary to have a drone license to operate your drone commercially in New Zealand. You will need to operate under CAR101 rules. However, there are some companies that only hire RPAS operators under the CAR102 licenses only.

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Frequently asked questions

These are some frequently asked questions by foreigners bringing drones to New Zealand

Can I bring a drone to New Zealand?

Yes, you can bring your drone to New Zealand as long as it is for personal use only. If you are planning to use it for commercial purposes, then you will need to obtain a permit from the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand.

Can you fly a drone over private property?

There are no Federal laws in New Zealand that regulate the use of drones over private property. However, some cities and states have their own laws and regulations. Therefore, it is best to avoid flying your drone over private property in order to stay out of unwanted troubles.

Can I fly over public places?

No, you can't fly directly over public places because it is against the law. You must keep your drone at least 30 meters away from any people, buildings, and vehicles. This is to ensure the safety of the public.

Can I fly at night?

No, you can't fly your drone at night in New Zealand, just like most countries. This is because it is more difficult to see your drone at night, which can pose a safety hazard to both people and property.

Is FPV allowed in New Zealand?

Yes, FPV is allowed in New Zealand provided that an observer is watching the flight of the drone. If not then you can get into serious trouble.

What are the privacy laws on flying drones in New Zealand?

There are no specific privacy laws in New Zealand regarding the use of drones. However, it is generally considered to be rude and intrusive to fly a drone over someone's property without their permission.

  1. Take all feasible precautions to reduce hazards to people, property, and other aircraft at all times
  2. Do not fly at night
  3. Never ever fly your drone beyond the line of sight range in order to stay away from other aircraft
  4. Anyone you want to fly over has to give permission.
  5. If you're looking to fly over property owned by someone else, ensure that you have their permission.

Those were some of the main drone laws about privacy in New Zealand.

Can I convert my foreign drone license to a New Zealand one?

The answer is no, you can't convert your foreign drone license to a New Zealand one. You will need to obtain a new license from the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand in order to operate your drone commercially in the country. Apart from that, you must follow the rules for CAR101 and CAR102.

Do I need a license to fly my drone in New Zealand?

No, you don't need a license to fly your drone in New Zealand. However, you will need to operate under CAR101 rules. There are some companies that only hire RPAS operators under the CAR102 licenses only as mentioned earlier.

Is there an age limit to flying drones in New Zealand?

As such, there is no age limit to flying drones in New Zealand. However, some companies only hire people 18 years old and above when it comes to commercially flying drones.

Do I have to register a drone before flying?

No, you don't need to register your drone before flying it in New Zealand. However, you will need to label your drone with your name and contact information. This is so that the authorities can contact you if there are any problems with your drone.

Can I fly over a crowd of people?

No way, you can't fly your drone directly over a crowd of people. This is because it is against the law and it can pose a safety hazard to the people below. Keep your drone at least 30 meters away from any people, buildings, and vehicles.

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What are my top drones to fly safely in New Zealand?

My following two recommendations are 2 great compact drones that are quite silent and also small enough to travel with and not stand out as annoying.

1. DJI Mini 2- The best international travel drone (under 250g)

camera-icon-spec

4k

battery-icon-spec

31 min

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10 km

drone-icon-spec

No follow-me

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DJI has surprised us with this incredible camera drone under 250g, which is legal to fly in most countries without registration.

It comes at a very cheap price for its incredible specs.I have covered it much more in-depth in my article review and even compared it with the Mavic Air 2.

2. DJI Mavic Air 2 - My favorite drone overall

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4k 60p

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34 min

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10 km

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Follow me

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If you want more control over things like shutter speed, iso, and such, the best professional drone that still falls under the 500g category is the DJI Mavic Air.

It's made mostly for people who want to play around with settings and enter into the pro category.

DJI lowered its price since it was first released.

Restricted Areas and Geofencing (Drone Flying map)

The best way to figure out what areas you can fly in, while you're here is by consulting DJI's official map.

They do a great job mapping the places that one should avoid while flying in every country:

  • airports
  • military bases
  • prisons
  • power plants
  • any high-risk areas

These would be the current updated drone laws for New Zealand I suggest checking my full map with all the countries' drone laws to see where it's best to travel.

Final Words

I hope you found this article helpful. New Zealand is a beautiful country with lots to offer. It is also a great place to fly drones. Just remember to follow the rules and regulations set by the authorities in order to avoid any trouble.

Happy flying!

author-paul-posea-picture
Hi, I'm Paul.
A big drone enthusiast, reviewing, comparing and writing about drones since 2015. I'm all about helping people enjoy and even monetize their hobby.
paul posea
Paul Posea
Hi, I'm a long-time drone reviewer and I hope my articles and comparisons on this site as well as Dronesgator's youtube channel are of as much help as possible.

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