Flying drones in Palmerston North

Photo shows a drone flying in the blue sky.


Learn more about operating unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in Palmy, where you can and can't fly drones, and how to apply for a permit online.

Drone pilots must follow New Zealand Civil Aviation rules to keep everyone safe.

Many of our city’s roads, parks and reserves are in a controlled airspace managed by Air Traffic Control because they’re close to important flight paths. That means for many flights you might need clearance from Air Traffic Control, which you can request through the AirShare website.

You can fly in some of our parks without clearance – for more on these visit the parks section.

Apply for a permit

Where you can fly without permission

In some of our parks, low level flying is allowed without getting clearance from air traffic control. To be a shielded operation, you must log your flight plan at and fly your drone within 100m of an object like a building or a tree. You must also fly below the height of that object. This prevents your drone from flying into other aircraft. To operate outside of these provisions you need permission from the relevant air authority.  

We provide permission to fly in the following parks as long as you follow the general CAA rules and above guidelines:

  • Adderstone Reserve
  • Anzac Park | Te Motu o Poutoa
  • Atawhai Reserve
  • Paneiri Park
  • Summerhill Reserve
  • Ahimate Reserve

Parks you can fly above with permission


If you are flying over land owned by Palmerston North City Council, such as our parks and reserves, you must follow these guidelines for operating drones:

  • You must apply for a permit using the form on this page.
  • You must log your flight on
  • You must stay at least 25 metres away from boundaries, playgrounds and formed paths
  • Take care around animals, particularly in areas where dogs are allowed off a leash
  • Do not operate your drone in a no fly zone. To find out where these are in Palmy, visit: Pilot App – airshare 
  • Read our park’s drone policy(PDF, 963KB).

Apply now

These are restricted areas where casual flying is not permitted, but may be granted for special occasions or activities: 

  • Cemeteries
  • Central Energy Trust Arena
  • Frederick Krull Reserve
  • Jefferson Reserve
  • Leander Reserve
  • Linklater Reserve
  • Memorial Park 
  • Parnell Heights Reserve
  • Playgrounds
  • Private land (permission to be sought from landowner)
  • Robert Reserve
  • Schnell Wetland Reserve
  • Te Marae o Hine | The Square
  • Victoria Esplanade  
  • Otira Reserve and Linton Domain
  • Ashhurst Domain campground, playground, cemetery, cafe or pony club spaces (you can fly a drone over the sportsfields)

Flying above Palmy roads requires permission

Map indicates area that requires permission to fly drones over the roads.

Operators who hold Part 102 certification by the CAA and intend to fly over a road in Palmy should apply for permission using the online form on this page. 

Apply now

Requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account an agreed safety plan that will describe how you propose to manage the risks to road users and any contractor or supplier staff and equipment. A traffic management plan may be required and submitted to us for approval – as outlined in the Code of Practice for Temporary Traffic Management.

You cannot fly over State Highways without the permission of Waka Kotahi.

You cannot fly over railways without the permission of KiwiRail.

No-fly zones

You cannot fly within 4 kilometres of Palmerston North Airport. This prevents your drone from flying into aircraft. To operate a drone within this space, you need permission from the relevant air authority. 

Apply for a permit

Fill out this application for permission to fly your drone above council-owned roads or permission-required parks in Palmy. Please submit your application at least 10 working days in advance.

Click here to view form.

Complaints about drone operators

If you feel a drone operator has breached our guidelines, contact us at

If a drone flies above your property without permission or you feel your privacy has been breached, you can make a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner or the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

If there is an urgent risk to public safety, contact the police.

Any breaches of civil aviation rules must be referred to the CAA.