Introduction

You must have a concession from DOC to fly a drone on public conservation land for any reason.

In addition, you must abide by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) rules for unmanned aircraft.

If you’re planning on using your drone for non-commercial private use only, see recreational drone use.

Pre-application meeting

Applying for a concession for the first time can be a little tricky. To ensure your application goes smoothly we offer a free pre-application meeting. We’ll also help you contact the local iwi to assess whether your proposed activity will have any cultural effects.

Type of concession

Depending on what you want to do and when and how you want to do it, you will either need a one-off concession or a longer term concession: 

  • One-off concession – for drone activities for a period of no longer than 3 months.
    Your activity also must:
    • have only minor environmental effects that can easily be managed
    • have clearly defined limits (i.e. number of flights)
    • not take place in the same location more than once in any three-year period.
  • Longer term concession – for any other drone activities.

Your DOC advisor will advise you what concession you will need in your pre-application meeting. You can also talk to them about areas where drone use is likely to be approved.

Apply for your concession

Fill in the relevant concession application form – the form relating to the primary reason you are flying your drone. Choose from the following options: 

One-off activity

Your application must include the conservation area you want to access. It may be returned if you do not identify the specific location by conservation area name. Use DOC maps to help you identify this. See also Areas we recommend you apply to use a drone.

We will invoice you once we have processed your application. This is the processing fee only, activity fees are discussed below.Your fee is likely to be $230 plus GST ($264.50 including GST) for each region you apply to use your drone.

Your application should be processed within five working days of receipt. If your application is approved we will send you a contract which you must sign and return before proceeding with your activity.

Longer term activity

Your application must include the conservation area you want to access. It may be returned if you do not identify the specific location by conservation area name. Use DOC maps to help you identify this. See also Areas we recommend you apply to use a drone.

We will invoice you once we have processed your application. The fee for a standard application is likely to be $1,540 plus GST ($1,771 including GST). Your application should be processed within 45 working days of receipt for simple applications (up to 65 working days for complex applications).

Your application may be considered complex if it needs an in depth assessment of the environmental effects. For example applications for multiple sites/activities, unusual activities or sensitive locations. In this case you will be provided with an estimated cost and timeframe after you have submitted your application. 

If your proposed activity has to be notified to the public because there are likely to be significant environmental affects over the duration of your activity your fee will include the cost of public notification and hearings. We will provide an estimate of the likely application processing time and cost when your application is received.

If your application is approved we will send you a contract which you must sign and return before proceeding with your activity.

Fees

Processing fees

Fees for processing your application are set out above.

Activity fees

See filming and sporting events for the fees relating to these activities. If your activity does not relate to filming and sporting, your DOC advisor can advise you of your fee.

Other ongoing fees

You are also required to pay ongoing concession fees for a longer term concession.

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