To film anything for commercial purposes on public conservation land you must have a concession from DOC. This includes activities such as making a documentary, movie or advertisement.

Find out what concession you will need and how to apply for one below.

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 filming required for a period of no longer than three months.

    As well as complying with all relevant legislation and conservation plans or strategies your planned activity must:
    • have only minor environmental effects that can easily be managed 
    • have clearly defined limits (ie number of times accessed)
    • not involve permanent structures
    • not take place in the same location more than once in any three year period.
  • Longer term concession – for filming required in an area for a period of longer than three months.

Your DOC advisor will advise you what concession you will need in your pre application meeting. Scouting for locations does not normally require a concession.

Apply for your concession

Delays in processing

We currently have a backlog of applications. We're working hard to prioritise older and urgent applications. If you have any concerns contact

Follow the relevant process below for your filming application.

One-off activity

Identify the name and status of the public conservation land you wish to use by checking DOC maps.

We will invoice you once we have processed your application. Your fee is likely to be $230 plus GST ($264.50 including GST) for each DOC region you apply to film in – use DOC Maps to help you identify this). Your application should be processed within five working days of receipt. The timeframe may be longer where iwi consultation is required.

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

Filming on conservation land attracts activity fees depending on the type of filming taking place.  

Schedule of location fees
Type of filming Standard daily fee
(excluding GST) 
Per person per day fee
(excluding GST) 
Commercials $500 $25
Feature film $500 $25
Television drama $500 $25
Documentaries $300 $25
Sports events (commercial) $300 $25
Filming schools and students $100 Nil
Conservation recreation promotion  $100 $25
Television news/current affairs Nil Nil
Still photography (commercial) $500 $25
  • All figures above are exclusive of GST and do not include application and processing fees and costs, or monitoring fees and costs. 
  • Total daily location fee is calculated by multiplying the per person charge by the number of persons in the film crew (including actors and talent) and then adding the standard daily fee. 
  • To take account of how crews operate, the total daily charge can be halved for film crews who spend 5 hours or less filming on any one day. 
  • Preparation and clean-up days to be charged at 20% of the full day rate. 
  • Members of the Screen Producers and Directors Association (SPADA) will qualify, on proof of membership, for a discount of 10% of the total location rentals. This discount does not apply to recovery of DOC staff time and costs.
  • Many filming operations can be expected to be monitored to some extent. At the low-impact end, this may be a single visit to ensure compliance with conditions, and a check that numbers on site generally match the application.
  • At the larger scale end, this could be by way of a full, independently delivered, monitoring programme.
  • Large film crews will be expected to directly fund the monitoring costs with the independent monitoring contractor. A level of flexibility will be maintained to ensure that the monitoring requirement is not unnecessarily detrimental to the timelines that the film crew is working to.
  • Where DOC staff undertake the monitoring, the costs for this will be recovered from the concessionaire at DOC’s current charge out rates – discuss with your permissions contact.

Longer term activity

Identify the name and status of the public conservation land you wish to use by checking DOC maps.

We will invoice you once we have processed your application. The processing fee for a standard application is likely to be $2065 plus GST ($2374.75 including GST). If your application is assessed as complex, covers multiple regions, or includes more than 20 individual locations, this fee is likely to be higher. We will send you an estimate of costs once we have received your application.

Your application should be processed within 55 working days of receipt for simple applications. It can be up to 120 working days if a hearing is required.

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.

You will also be required to pay ongoing concession fees – see the fee information above.

Access for news media

News media do not need to apply for a permit to access public conservation land, provided their activity is low impact (eg one camera/recording device and one reporter) and they are accessing areas that the general public are allowed to go.

You must abide by guidelines for filming around wildlife and areas of cultural significance. We encourage media to engage with local tangata whenua before venturing out.

Media who want to film with a drone will need permission. Contact for more information.

If the application does not meet the criteria you will need to apply for a filming concession – see ‘Apply for your concession’ above.

News media do not need special permission to access public conservation land if they are covering issues that are in the public interest.

Get more information about media access to public conservation land


To use a drone on public conservation land for any reason, you need a concession from DOC. See Commercial drone use or Recreational drone use for more information about drone concessions. 

Code of practice

DOC and Film New Zealand have jointly developed a code of practice for film crews undertaking activities on public conservation land. This covers issues such as whether animals are permitted, when pyrotechnics can be used and the use of helicopter/other vehicles. If you are granted a concession you must comply with this code.

See the Code of practice for filming on public conservation lands (PDF, 78K) for more information.

Contact us

For more information or assistance with your filming concession contact the nearest of these DOC offices.

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