Ground your drone to help us save native birds

Published on 31 March 2021

Bearded man in Wildbase uniform holding a drone near the outdoor rehabilitation aviaries.

The birds at Central Energy Trust Wildbase Recovery need your help to prevent them getting an unwanted buzz.

Drones being flown in breach of rules for Victoria Esplanade are causing the birds distress, Centre Manager Chris Smith says.

Victoria Esplanade is categorised as "restricted" for flying drones, which means it's a sensitive space and casual flying is not allowed unless Palmerston North City Council Council has granted permission.

Other parks and reserves in Palmy also have rules around flying drones. Check out the flying drones in parks and reserves page on our website. This is because most of our urban areas are in controlled airspace, which is managed by Air Traffic Control. Airways rules must always be observed and can be found at You'll need to follow Civil Aviation rules no matter where you fly.

Central Energy Trust Wildbase Recovery Manager Chris Smith wants people to think about the effects of drones on the centre's patients.

Central Energy Trust Wildbase Recovery is a partnership between Palmerston North City Council, Massey University Wildbase Hospital, the Wildbase Recovery Community Trust, Rangitāne o Manawatū, Rotary and the Department of Conservation. The centre is about conserving and protecting our native species for future generations of New Zealanders.

"We are asking the people of Palmy to help us with this by keeping drones away from our recovering birds," Smith says. "Our patient and resident birds are sensitive to drones because of their noise and movement type, as to them it can seem like it's a predator."

Massey University Wildbase Hospital and Recovery Supervisor Pauline Nijman says drones at Victoria Esplanade are a barrier to the good work being done by staff and volunteers. "We are doing our best to give birds a second chance and drones pose a serious risk of them injuring themselves again."


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