Unmanned aircraft, such as drones, are very popular for recreational and business use.

But it’s an aircraft so can be a hazard to people, property and other aircraft. So it’s important to know the rules before you fly.

In this section:

Rules for sharing the skies

You might consider your drone to be a fun toy, but did you know it's an aircraft? There are six general rules you need to follow while flying to keep yourself, others, and your aircraft safe:

  1. Fly no higher than 120m (400 ft) above the ground
  2. Don't fly over people unless you have their permission
  3. Don't fly over property, such as farms, houses or parks, unless the owner or council says it's OK
  4. Keep your drone in sight at all times
  5. Stay 4 km away from anywhere aircraft are landing or taking off
  6. It’s dangerous to fly drones anywhere other aircraft are operating

Watch a video and download our brochure on sharing the skies

Your drone questions answered

We've gathered together some common questions about flying unmanned aircraft in New Zealand.


Drones and unmanned aircraft must follow the law as set out in the Civil Aviation Act 1993.

Training to fly drones

We highly recommend that you attend a training course to fly your drone. This will increase your awareness of the rules and airspace, as well as enhance your flying skills. And that's going to benefit the safety of everyone.

Safety messages for drones

Information to help you operate unmanned aircraft safely.

Technical information

Information about using radio frequencies, aeronautical voice frequencies, and ADS-B OUT for drones.

Report a drone safety concern

We encourage anyone who has a concern about drone safety to make a report.

Forms and resources

Quick find links to key drones-related information, including forms and Advisory Circulars.

Related information

Rules and Advisory Circulars

Part 101 Gyrogliders and Parasails, Unmanned Aircraft (including Balloons), Kites, and Rockets Operating Rules

Part 102 Unmanned Aircraft Operator Certification

 Finding all this a bit confusing?

Please consider investing in your own knowledge and skills by undertaking a drone pilot course.