You must have a concession from DOC to fly a drone (of any size) on public conservation land for any reason, including private and non-commercial use.


Get more information about using drones on public conservation land

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

If you're planning on using your drone for commercial gain, see commercial 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

A short term or one-off concession allows you to fly your drone for 3 months or less. To apply for a longer period, talk to your local DOC office

Apply for your concession

If your application includes areas outside the recommended location forms (see also areas we recommend you apply to use a drone) you must include the conservation area you want to access. Your application may be returned if you do not identify the specific location by conservation area name. Use DOC maps to help you identify these.

You will be charged a processing fee based on how many DOC regions you apply to use your drone in (see below).

Your application should be processed within 10 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


The only fee you're required to pay for recreational drone use is a processing fee of $65 plus GST ($74.75 including GST) for each DOC region you apply to use your drone. Use DOC Maps to help you identify this.

If you will be using your drone for commercial gain you will need to pay the relevant fees for commercial drone use. See filming, sporting events and aircraft activities for the fees relating to these activities.

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