Gaining a NZ Firearms Licence

If you are 16 years old or over you can apply for a firearms licence. This will allow you to have and use unsupervised:

  1. shotguns and rifles that do not require an endorsement (as below)
  2. specially dangerous airguns (including pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) air rifles).

Anyone can use a hunting and target shooting rifle or shotgun without a licence if they are under the immediate supervision of a licence holder. ‘Immediate supervision’ means the licensed person is within reach and can control the firearm. The supervisor must not be using another firearm at the same time.

You need a special addition to your licence (called an endorsement) and a permit to possess to:

  1. possess or use prohibited items
  2. collect pistols and restricted weapons or stage theatrical performances involving pistols and restricted weapons
  3. possess pistols and restricted weapons in your capacity as a dealer or their employee.

If you are visiting New Zealand for less than a year and need a firearms licence, apply for a visitor licence.

More information on applying for a NZ firearms licence is available here.

Hunting on Public Conservation Land

To hunt animals on public conservation land you need a DOC hunting permit, which you can apply for online. Permit conditions:

  1. each person within a hunting party and intending to hunt must have a separate permit
  2. permits cannot be transferred to, or be used by, anyone else
  3. to get a hunting permit a valid firearms licence is required

You still need a DOC permit if you’re hunting:

  1. with a bow or knife – see bow and cross bow hunting rules
  2. under the immediate supervision of someone with a valid New Zealand firearms licence.

If you want to hunt with dogs on public conservation land, you may also need a dog permit. The hunting block and hunting licence will let you know if you need a dog permit.

Hunting on or accessing private land

Hunting on private land requires hunters to gain permission from the landowner, including and importantly on forestry blocks. This also includes permission to take hunting dogs and any vehicles.

Hunters must also respect rules around access of conservation land through private land. The Outdoor Access Code sets out the rights and responsibilities of recreational users with regards to public access.

  1. Always ask permission before accessing private land.
  2. Leave gates as you find them
  3. Don’t damage fences. If there’s no gate or stile, go through the wires or climb over at posts
  4. Don’t disturb farm animals or walk through crops
  5. Report damage or stock in difficulty to landholders. Leave the environment as you found it
  6. Take extreme care with fires and be sure you have permission or a permit, if required
  7. Take litter home and bury toilet waste away from waterways
  8. Keep dogs under control and don’t leave their faeces behind
  9. Be courteous when driving motor vehicles and stick to formed roads
  10. Be extra-safe with firearms. Follow the Seven Basic Firearms Safety Rules
  11. If you want to access Māori land, Pātaka Whenua can help you find who to ask for permission
  12. Respect sites that are significant to Māori and learn local tikanga (customary values). These may differ from place to place