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All New Drone Laws In New Zealand In 2023

By: Richard J. Gross
Updated On: December 31, 2022

New Zealand is home to a number of drone companies, and there are several drone clubs located around the country. In addition, the New Zealand government has created a number of rules and regulations regarding the use of drones.

Drone Laws In New Zealand

As a result, New Zealand is an ideal place to purchase and operate a drone. Drones are unmanned aircraft that can be controlled remotely. They are often used for military or commercial purposes, but they can also be used for recreation. Drones come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they can be equipped with a variety of sensors and cameras. 

As drones become more and more popular, countries around the world are starting to create laws and regulations for their use. Recently, New Zealand has released its new drone laws, which have caused some concern among drone enthusiasts.

In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the new drone laws In New Zealand and explain why they have caused such concern. We will also discuss what you need to know in order to comply with these laws. 

Are Drones Legal in New Zealand?

Yes, drones are legal in New Zealand, and the CAANZ is responsible for regulating their use. However, drone operators must comply with all applicable laws and regulations when flying.

Drone Laws In New Zealand

Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), have been the subject of much debate in recent years. Their popularity has soared, but so has the concern over their potential misuse. In New Zealand, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is responsible for regulating drones.

Overall, the CAA's rules are designed to strike a balance between allowing people to enjoy flying drones and ensuring public safety.

Read Also: Every Drone Laws in Hungary

Things to Keep in Mind before Flying a Drone

Flying a drone in New Zealand can be an exhilarating experience, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind before taking off. So if you're thinking of purchasing or renting a drone and heading out to explore our beautiful country, make sure to read on.

  • Your aircraft cannot exceed 25kg and must always be safe to operate and well-maintained.
  • Taking steps to reduce risks to people, property, and other aircraft is essential.
  • Only fly during the day unless you have an armed escort.
  • Make way for other aircraft, such as planes and helicopters. If you see another aircraft approaching, land your own plane immediately.
  • You should keep your eye on unmanned aircraft at all times. Do not watch it through binoculars, a monitor, or a smartphone, and you won't be able to see it as well. Also, do not fly it behind objects since you might lose track of it, and don't fly through or above fog and clouds because you could lose control.
  • Never fly higher than 120 meters (400 feet) above the ground.
  • Get explicit consent from those below before flying your drone.
  • Before you take off, check for any airspace restrictions in your area.

General Drone Rules in New Zealand (2023)

Although there are still some grey areas, the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand (CAANZ) has now released a list of generally accepted drone rules. These rules apply to anyone flying a drone and cover everything from where you can fly to what you need to do before take-off.

Ignorance of these rules is not an excuse, so make sure you familiarise yourself with them before taking your drone out for a spin. 

  • Before flying a drone, pilots must ensure that their drones weigh no more than 25 kilograms (55 pounds) and are safe to fly.
  • Always take measures to fly responsibly and safely to avoid causing any damage or harm.
  • Drones may only be operated during daylight hours.
  • Drones must always give way to piloted aircraft.
  • Maintaining a direct visual line of sight with your drone at all times is required for all pilots.
  • Drones must not exceed a height of 120 meters (394 feet) off the ground.
  • Before operating a drone, it is essential to know the airspace restrictions in place for that specific area.
  • You may not fly a drone closer than four kilometers (2.5 miles) to an aerodrome.
  • To fly a drone in New Zealand's controlled airspace, you must first get clearance from Airways.
  • Drone pilots are not authorized to fly in special-use airspace without the authority's specific permission (like military operating or restricted areas). 
  • Prior to flying a drone over an individual, pilots must have consent. 
  • Before adding a pop of color to your garden or taking an aerial photo of your house, drone pilots much receive approval from the property owner.
  • You must check with your local council or the Department of Conservation before flying over any public spaces, such as parks and reserves.
  • Keep your drone at least 500 feet away from any marine animal for their safety and yours. As stated in the 1992 Marine Mammals Protection Regulations, no aircraft can operate closer than 150 meters (500 feet) to a point directly above any marine mammal when flying at less than 600 meters (2,000 feet) above sea level.

Read Also: New Drone Laws in Pennsylvania

Airspaces in New-Zealand

There are two types of airspace: controlled and special use. Controlled airspace is where air traffic control services are necessary for the safe and efficient operation of aircraft.

Drone Laws In New Zealand

Special use airspace includes restricted areas, military operating areas, mandatory broadcast zones, volcanic hazard zones, danger areas, and low-flying zones.

The Aeronautical Information Shop offers Visual Navigation Charts (VNC), which are maps that display the boundaries of controlled and other special-use airspaces for purchase. Alternatively, you can view these VNCs electronically on the AirShare website.

  • You may be able to fly in controlled airspace by having Air Traffic Control (ATC) clearance from Airways. You can ask for this permission through AirShare using the My Flights tool.
  • If you can fly your plane as a protected operation, then you don't need permission from air traffic control.
  • Unless you have approval from the aerodrome operator, stay 4 kilometers away from all airports.
  • Unless you have the administering authority's permission, do not fly in special use airspace – this includes military operating areas and restricted areas.
  • While it may be safer not to fly your drone over other people, sometimes you have no choice. If this is the case, always get the person's consent before flying above them.
  • You must have approval from the property owner or whoever is in charge of the land before flying over it.

Make sure to look up your local flying regulations before taking your drone out in public spaces like parks or reserves. Your regional council's website should have information about where you're allowed to fly your drone.

And if you want to fly over any conservation land, remember that you'll need a permit from the Department of Conservation first.

Civil Aviation Authority New Zealand (CAANZ)

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is a statutory authority created by the New Zealand Parliament to administer civil aviation law in New Zealand.

Drone Laws In New Zealand

The CAA is responsible for safety regulations, including the certification of aircraft and aircrew and the investigation of civil aviation accidents and incidents. The CAA also regulates airspace and aerodromes and provides air traffic services.

In recent years, the CAA has been working to regulate the use of drones in New Zealand airspace. Drones are becoming increasingly popular for recreational and commercial purposes such as photography and delivery.

However, there are safety concerns about drones, as they can pose a collision risk to other aircraft. The CAA is working to develop rules and regulations around drone use in order to ensure that drones are operated safely and do not pose a risk to other aircraft or people on the ground.

Read Also: All New Drone Laws in Montana

No Drone Zones In New Zealand

No Drone Zones are areas where drones are not allowed to fly. These zones are typically near airports, military bases, and other sensitive areas. No Drone Zones are typically marked on maps, and drone pilots are responsible for avoiding these areas.

Drone Laws In New Zealand

Failure to do so can result in fines or jail time. In some cases, drones may be allowed to fly in No Drone Zones if they have permission from the relevant authorities.

However, this is usually only the case for commercial drones, and even then, there are usually strict restrictions in place. No Drone Zones are put in place to protect the safety of both people and property, and all drone pilots should respect them.

How to know about no drone zones?

No Drone Zones can be found on most maps and aerial photography apps. These zones are typically marked with a red circle or line and are often accompanied by a warning message.

Furthermore, many aviation authorities have dedicated websites where No Drone Zones can be easily viewed. As always, drone pilots should check with the relevant local authority to make sure that their flight is not prohibited in any way.

It's important to remember that flying drones near airports, military bases, and other sensitive locations is strictly prohibited without permission from the relevant authorities.

Violating these laws can result in hefty fines or even jail time, so it's best to avoid these areas altogether if possible.

Read Also: New Drone Laws In Montenegro

Conclusion

Drone use in New Zealand must be regulated to ensure public safety and protect sensitive areas. The Civil Aviation Authority regulates drones, including developing rules and regulations around drone use and marking No Drone Zones on maps.

Drone pilots should always make sure that they are familiar with the relevant laws and regulations before operating a drone, and they should take extra care to avoid Drone Zones whenever possible.

By following these guidelines, recreational drone users can help ensure an enjoyable flying experience for everyone. Hope you found this article helpful. Please leave any questions or suggestions you have in the comments section below.

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Richard J. Gross

Hi, my name is Richard J. Gross and I’m a full-time Airbus pilot and commercial drone business owner. I got into drones in 2015 when I started doing aerial photography for real estate companies. I had no idea what I was getting into at the time, but it turns out that police were called on me shortly after I started flying. They didn’t like me flying my drone near people, so they asked me to come train their officers on the rules and regulations for drones. After that, I decided to start my own drone business and teach others about the safe and responsible use of drones.

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