Find out what you need to know about filming with a UAV or drone in Auckland.

This information is a guide only – if you're planning to use a drone in your screen production, read the civil aviation rules before getting started.

Civil aviation rules

The Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand (CAA) has two parts to the rules that regulate drones, one for general use of drones under 25kg (Part 101) and one for drones over 25kg (Part 102), for which your drone operator must be certified.

Read the CAA rules

 

Filming on a beach or in a council-owned park or regional park

Regional parks generally rank low on our film impact scale, but be prepared to work around the public and avoid filming on weekends.

If your production qualifies as low impact, you won’t need to request permission to fly your drone on a beach or in an Auckland Council-owned park or regional park if the drone:

  • is capable of vertical take-off and landing
  • is under 15kg
  • has a ‘wingspan’ under 2m.

If your drone is between 15 and 25kg, you will need approval from Model Flying New Zealand.

Before filming, your production must have:
  • a film permit to film in a public space
  • public liability insurance, including an aviation clause, to a minimum $1 million cover with pilot and aircraft details listed.

See Auckland Council’s rules and guidelines for flying drones.

 

Filming over carriageways (roads and footpaths), motorways or state highways

Your production will need an operator with:
  • public liability insurance, including an aviation clause, to a minimum $2 million cover with pilot and aircraft details listed
  • pilot details
  • evidence of a CAA Rule Part 102 certification
  • a traffic management plan
  • a hazard management plan
  • evidence of safety assessments before and after flights
  • maps of the location/address of proposed flight including flight details.

Find more about flying a drone over Auckland’s road corridor.

 

Filming in or on an Auckland Transport carpark

Your production will need:
  • the same requirements as per the above
  • additional health and safety and indemnity documentation
  • appropriate signage to notify the public of the drone use.

 

Filming in Wynyard Quarter

The Wynyard Quarter area includes Silo Park, North Wharf, Halsey Wharf and Karanga Plaza.

Your production will need:
  • public liability insurance, including an aviation clause, to a minimum $10 million cover with pilot and aircraft details listed
  • evidence of CAA Rule Part 102 certification
  • a robust and approved health and safety plan “that includes the safe retrieval of the drone in the event of a loss of signal or an emergency landing, such as a parachute system or an automated emergency landing procedure.”
  • appropriate signage to notify the public of the drone use.

 

Filming in a residential area

Drone operations are not permitted in residential areas between 10pm and 7am. If you’re filming with a drone in a residential area, informing residents is a good idea (for example, via a letter drop) and you’ll need to apply to Screen Auckland to oversee this.

 

Filming with a drone over private property

Follow the CAA Rule Part 101 and make sure your production is adequately covered in liability terms. Examples of private property include inside a film studio or at Woodhill Forest.

 

Filming within 4km of an uncontrolled aerodrome

Under CAA Rule Part 101 a drone operator must get approval from an aerodrome operator to fly a drone within 4km of that aerodrome. There are four uncontrolled aerodromes in Auckland’s CBD: the waterdrome at Wynyard Quarter, two hospital helipads and Mechanics Bay.

Certified Part 102 operators can notify their operations in lieu of getting an agreement, but the CAA still has a clause for Part 102 holders to contact the operators and discuss the operation before starting flight.

Read the full rules.

 

Mechanics Bay aerodrome

Mechanics Bay aerodrome is one of the four uncontrolled aerodromes in Auckland’s CBD from which a drone operator must get approval to fly a drone within 4km of the aerodrome.

The 4km limit from Mechanics Bay extends from Auckland Harbour Bridge to Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE Aquarium. Helicopter organisation Helilink operates the Mechanics Bay aerodrome, managing police and Westpac Rescue movements as well as its own commercial operations.

With this in mind, drone operators may find a shielded operation is the best solution to enable operation within this aerodrome’s 4km limit. This allows for an operator to fly within 4km of the area they intend to fly without agreement from the aerodrome operator(s). However, an email to the operator(s) with a copy of your Airshare flight details is a suggested courtesy.

 

Wi-Fi

Drones operate on the 2.4Ghz wavelength (also known as Wi-Fi) and there’s some debate about how much interference plays a part in disrupting the signal to drones.

However, please note the following:
  • some diversity systems are better than others (such as rapid fire signal flickers)
  • some controllers have bigger outputs than others (as an example DJI uses 800mw radios)
  • some areas of the CBD may have stronger areas of Wi-Fi interference than others; it has been suggested that Aotea Square, Wynyard Quarter, Fort Street and areas around the Ports of Auckland fall into this category.

 

Privacy

CAA Part 101 requires drone operators to get permission before flying over people or property. When filming with a drone, you’ll also need to comply with the Privacy Act and CCTV guidelines.

Find out more

 


Get in touch to find out more about filming with drones

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