Unmanned aircraft - Drones


Property owner consent is required to fly drones/UAVs/Model aircraft over land that is owner, managed or leased by Council. This Policy outlines the approach Manawatu District Council is taking to property owner consent.

The Civil Aviation Authority regulates civil aviation in New Zealand, and sets the rules around the use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System: Unmanned Aerial vehicles (UAV), Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), model aircraft and drones – unmanned aircraft.

New rules introduced by the CAA came into effect on 1 August 2015. These rules require people to obtain approval from the land owner or the occupier of the land you want to fly over. This rule comes in addition to the existing CAA and Air traffic Control rules on where and how you can fly unmanned aircraft, and what permissions you need to get before doing so.

Council is not responsible for setting, monitoring or enforcing these rules, but we are summarising them here in an attempt to make them clearer to users, especially casual UAV/drone operators.

 Flying Unmanned Aircraft Brochure

Where can you fly and what permissions do you need?

A part of the Manawatu District sits within controlled Airspace. This means that if you want to fly anything in that airspace, you need permission from Air Traffic Control.

In addition, CAA defines four-kilometre zones around all aerodromes, where the use of the airspace is further restricted. In these zones, you need to have a pilot license (or be accompanied by someone who does) in addition to having permission from Air Traffic Control. These restrictions apply specifically to any aerodrome listed in the Aeronautical Publication of New Zealand. These aerodromes are shown on the map below.

UAV_Control_zones.png

The pink area are control zones which are managed by Air Traffic Control.

The grey circle’s are 4km radius around aerodromes.

The green areas are Military Operating Areas and permission is required.

The orange areas are low flying Zones, UAVs are not permitted to fly in low flying zones.

Provided you follow the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) operating rules and subject to conditions you have Manawatu District Council’s permission to fly unmanned aircraft over Council land and facilities, with the exception of:

  • Council Offices, Libraries and Swimming pools
  • Councils Water, Waste Water Treatment Plants and its Resource Recovery Centre
  • Dog Pound 
  • Council Cemeteries
  • Within the Road corridor
  • Any Council land or property that is leased to another party
  • Any location on Council land during an organised gathering of people (including sporting events)
  • Specified Parks and Playgrounds (see prohibited flying zones).

Prohibited UAV flying zones

Johnson Park, Timona Park, Kitchener Park, Kowhai Park, Mt Lees Reserve and the Makino Precinct. The Council will consider requests for permission case by case. Before you apply to the Council, you need clearance from air traffic control or a shielded operation exemption.

Council may consider specific requests to fly over these areas.

All other parks are considered suitable for flying as long as you follow some general rules and comply with the CAA rules.

  • Comply with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner guidance on preserving peoples personal privacy by not flying over other people or adjoining private property without their consent.
  • Be courteous of other park users, who often are there or the enjoyment of the park.
  • Do not operate over a sports field if in use by others.
  • Do not operate during a fire ban period.
  • Cease operation if requested by Council staff or Emergency Services.

If you want to fly over land within the 4km zones around aerodromes, you will either need to stick to shielded operation (stay low), or obtain permission from the aerodrome operator and comply with their requirements.

Manawatu District Council conditions when flying unmanned aircraft over Council land

  • Comply with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner guidance on preserving peoples personal privacy by not flying over other people or adjoining private property without their consent.
  • Be courteous of other park users, who often are there or the enjoyment of the park.
  • Do not operate over a sports field if in use by others.
  • Do not operate during a fire ban period.

Exemptions: Shielded operations

Shielded operations are those where you must be flying your UAV/drone within 100m of an object like a building or a tree. You must also fly below the height of that object. However, you still have to log your flight plan and obtain landowners permission.

To obtain authorisation from Air Traffic Control, register and log your flights on the Airshare UAV hub. The Airshare hub also provides a wealth of other information, including links to the CAA rules and news on the UAV industry.

I want to complain about UAVs flying

If you are concerned that the rules are being breached, please contact the CAA on isi@caa.govt.nz or phone 0508 4SAFETY. If there is an imminent threat to people or property, please contact the Police.