Flying drones and other unmanned aircraft
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulates civil aviation in New Zealand and sets the rules around the use of unmanned aircraft, such as drones and Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS).
The CAA drone rules (Part 101) include the requirement for operators to obtain approval from the land owner or occupier of the land you want to fly over.
Other requirements from the CAA and Air Traffic Control define where and how you can fly unmanned aircraft, and what permissions you need to get before doing so.
It’s your responsibility and obligation to comply with all CAA rules and the Privacy and CCTV guide.
Landowner or occupier permission
The CAA rules require people to obtain approval from the landowner or the occupier of the land you want to fly over.
On Council-owned parks and reserves
Provided operators comply with and follow the CAA Part 101 rules, you have Gisborne District Council’s permission to fly over Council-owned property.
You must also comply with the Privacy and CCTV guide on preserving people’s personal privacy by not flying over people using Council-owned land or adjoining private property without their consent.
You are required to maintain ‘visual line of sight’ with the device and you must obey all other CAA Part 101 rules, such as:
• not do anything hazardous to persons, property and other aircraft,
• fly only in daylight,
• not fly your aircraft higher than 120 metres (400 feet) above ground level,
• not fly closer than 4km from any aerodrome unless you have clearance from the aerodrome operator, have an observer with you and have a pilot qualification or you are flying shielded with a barrier.
See the Airshare map showing the 4km radius around both Gisborne aerodrome, including the aerodrome at Gisborne Hospital,
• when flying in controlled airspace, obtain an air traffic control clearance by logging an Airshare or fly shielded. See the controlled airspace on the Airshare map.
• have consent from anyone you want to fly above.
• Don’t fly inside the low flying zone around Wherowhero lagoon – you can see the low fly zone on the Airshare map.
Council local roads (excludes state highways)
CAA and other rules and conditions will apply, as above. If there are cars or pedestrians around you need their permission too.
For state highways, refer to Waka Kotahi NZTA.
You need to comply with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner guidance on preserving peoples’ personal privacy by not flying over other people using the park or over adjoining private property without their consent.
Note that the Privacy Commissioner’s CCTV guidelines apply to how someone might use drones fitted with cameras and comply with the Privacy Act.
Complaints about drones
If a drone flies above your property without your permission and you feel it’s in breach of your privacy – contact the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.
Report a drone safety concern to the CAA(external link)
If there's an urgent risk to public safety, contact the police.
4km radius of Gisborne aerodrome