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Filming in Taupo

Taupo is home to a diverse range of spectacular natural resources and panoramic views that are second to none. The Taupo region’s wild alpine terrain, ancient volcanic landscapes and crystal-clear lakes and rivers make for spectacular photography, and have already provided the backdrop for many creative projects including international film and television.

Bay of Plenty Film Office

For large-scale film productions the Film Bay of Plenty Office will connect you with the right people, place and infrastructure to serve your production. The office provides assistance with location scouting, facilitation, permitting, crew and service provision, advocacy and liaison with local government.


Depending on the nature and location of your work, you may require permits for filming and photography due to the natural and cultural significance of these resources. Permits can be required from several different entities for the same location, so it is worthwhile to do your research.

Maori owned land and areas of cultural significance

Many locations throughout Taupo have cultural significance to Māori, which often extends beyond the owner of the land, and may require consultation with iwi. Any filming or photography undertaken on Māori owned land or in areas of significant cultural importance particularly mountains, rivers and lakes, will require support of local iwi/hapu.

Project coordinators will need to consult with iwi about the proposed project, especially around any intended use of the content and whether any indigenous history, stories and legends will be shared in the production. Consultation also applies to photography.

Initial contact can be made through Te Kotahitanga o Ngati Tuwharetoa, who will contact the affected hapu directly.

Te Kotahitanga o Ngati Tuwharetoa: patai@tknt.maori.nz

Please note it can take anywhere up to 60 days for iwi consultation, so we advise you to make this your priority. 

Taupō Waters Trust

Anyone wanting to conduct filming or photography on or above Taupō Waters (Lower Tongariro River, Lake Taupo, upper reaches of the Waikato River and various tributaries) will need to complete a Filming and Photography Application form which will need to address certain guidelines as outlined by Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board.
The Taupō Waters Trust is set up by the Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board and holds title to:

  • Taupō-Nui-a-Tia Block
  • Te Awa o Waikato ki teToka o Tia Block
  • Te Hokinga mai o te papa o ngā awaki te Poari hei Kaitiaki o ngā Hapū o Ngāti Tūwharetoa Block.

These titles are collectively known as “Taupō Waters”. If you are unsure on any of your proposed filming locations please contact events@tuwharetoa.co.nz.

There are several prerequisites including Public Liability insurance, a Health & Safety plan compliant with the Health & Safety Act 1992 and pre-approval from the Taupo Harbourmaster for any drone activity within the Lake Taupo aerodrome.

The Department of Conservation (DOC)

To film anything for commercial purposes on public conservation land, you must have a concession from the Department of Conservation. Depending on what you plan to do, when and how you want to do it, you will either need a one-off concession or a longer-term concession. The concession application process may also require iwi consultation. You can request details of the interested parties from a local Concessions/ Iwi Ranger at DOC.

Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) or Drones

Civil Aviation Authority

If you want to operate a drone, there are Civil Aviation Authority rules and regulations in place that require operators to get consent from landowners and individuals who they may fly over, as well as seeking permission from the local aerodromes.

Aerodromes in the Taupo region:

  • Lake Taupo Aerodrome
  • Taupo Airport
  • Taupo Hospital Helipad
  • Heli Adventure Helipad
  • Centennial Park Aerodrome
  • Turangi Aerodrome

Drone operators are required to request approval from the aerodromes as outlined on this aerial map and by completing the online RPAS application form for each location.

Please note that completing an airshare.co.nz flight plan does not provide an approval in the Taupo area as Taupo airspace is uncontrolled.

It is the responsibility of the drone operator to ensure they fully comply with CAA Rule Part 101 or 102.

Getting consent from landowners

Another aspect of being compliant with CAA rules is ensuring you get permission from property owners before flying over their land. Private property owners must give personal consent while in the case of public land, you will need to get approval from the relevant governing authority.

Taupo District Council

Anyone wanting to operate a drone on or above Taupo District Council land, including reserves, is required to apply for a permit from the Council.



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