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

Our parks have two categories when it comes to flying drones.

  1. Restricted parks - where specific permission is required because they are either dangerous to fly drones or having drones there is considered inappropriate and needs to be restricted. This could be because the park has playgrounds, animals or is close to the airport.
  2. Permitted parks - where you can fly without getting permission as long as the Civil Aviation Authority(CAA) rules for unmanned aircraft are met and our Permission Conditions are met.

Restricted parks

There are two types of restricted parks:

No-fly parks

No-fly parks are near the airport take-off and landing areas. Flying recreational drones in these areas is not permitted at all. Exceptions will only be granted in extreme cases and not for recreational flying.

The no-fly restricted parks are:

  • Leander Reserve
  • Jefferson Reserve
  • Linklater Reserve
  • Parnell Heights Reserve
  • Schnell Wetland Reserve
  • Robert Park
  • Frederick Krull Reserve

Restricted flying parks

Restricted parks are inappropriate to fly drones in due to the nature of the park or the types of activities in it. 

Flying in restricted parks requires specific approval using our online form below. That approval will be considered on a case-by-case basis and will only be granted for special occasions or activities.

Restricted parks are:

  • Cemeteries
  • Central Energy Trust Arena
  • Memorial Park 
  • Playgrounds
  • Te Marae o Hine | The Square
  • Victoria Esplanade  
  • Otira Reserve
  • Linton Domain
  • Ashhurst Domain campground, playground, cemetery, or pony club spaces (you can fly a drone over the sportsfields)

Apply for a permit

Permitted flying parks

In all other parks, that are not restricted parks, you may fly a drone as long as:

  1. you follow the Civil Aviation Authority(CAA) rules for unmanned aircraft. To operate outside of these rules you need permission from the CAA My Flights hub and
  2.  You follow Councils Permission Conditions outlined below.

Permission conditions for permitted flying parks

To fly over permitted flying parks, you must comply with the following conditions:

  • You must log your flight on
  • You must stay at least 25 metres away from boundaries, playgrounds and formed paths
  • Be respectful 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 visit: Pilot App – airshare
  • Read our parks drone policy(PDF, 963KB)

Shielded vs unshielded

Please be aware the majority of our parks in Palmerston North are controlled airspaces – meaning that flying must be a Shielded Operation unless you have a permit from the CAA to fly unshielded.

The parks where unshielded flying is ok – as long as you are still within CAA rules for unmanned aircraft and still meeting Councils Permission Conditions – are:

  • Adderstone Reserve
  • Te Motu o Poutoa | Anzac Park
  • Atawhai Reserve
  • Paneiri Park
  • Summerhill Reserve
  • Ahimate Reserve
  • Ashhurst Domain
  • Sports ground

These are good parks to fly in if you’d like to go above the tree/building height (but below the 120-metre CAA rules and still observing Council’s permission conditions).




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.

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.