Guide to Council consents for events in Nelson

2 Months to Go:

Building Consents

If you are going to construct something with a floor area larger than 10m², such as a stage, put up a marquee larger than 100m2; or will use fencing higher than 2.5m, you will need to apply for building consent. You need to allow a couple of months in case you have any complications getting approval.

The building consent team like to chat about your plans first, so ring Customer Services and ask if they can arrange for a Building Consents Officer to give you a call. They will step you through the process.


Variable. Quotes provided

Nelson City Council, Customer Services
(03) 546 0200

Resource Consents

A resource consent is formal approval for an activity that might affect the environment and isn't allowed in the Nelson Resource Management Plan or the Nelson Air Quality Plan. There are five types of resource consents:

  • Land use consent for the use of land
  • Subdivision consent for subdividing land
  • Water permit for the taking of water
  • Discharge permit for the discharge of contaminants in water, soil or air
  • Coastal permit for the use or occupation of coastal space.

The resource consent team like to chat about your plans first, so get in touch and they will let you know if you need to do anything.


Variable. Quotes provided

The Duty Planner
(03) 546 0260

One Month to Go:

Alcohol License

If your event is ticketed, or you are selling alcohol, you need to apply for a Special License. You need to allow 20 working days for this application.


$63.00 for under 100 attendees
$207.00 for 100 – 400 attendees
$500.00 for events over 400 attendees
03 546 0200

Food Control Advice

All your food vendors will need their own food control plan. It is no longer up to the event organiser to have a license themselves.


03 546 0200

Noise Consent

Depending on where your event is, and what time it is on, there will be rules about noise levels. For many event spaces, Council has a limited number of special consents each year that allow for higher noise levels than usual. If your event has amplified sound, or sudden loud noises such as fireworks, it is worth checking if you need to get noise consent. It is a lot cheaper to get consent than to pay fines for breaching noise levels! Noise consent comes with guidelines on what your limits will be, and how to monitor your noise levels. You need to allow at least a month for this application.


$500.00 - Ticketed event

Axel de Maupeou, Team Leader Events

Fireworks (see Noise Consent)

If you are planning to have fireworks as part of your event, you should include it as part of your Noise Consent application.

You should use a fully qualified pyrotechnics expert. They will submit an application to the fire service and air traffic control as part of their responsibility. Depending on your location and the time of year, the fire service may put some restrictions on your display that you will need to monitor on the day. 

Two Weeks to go:

Permission to Fly a Drone

No permission is required to fly a drone on or above Nelson City Council-owned parks and reserves provided that the Civil Aviation Rules are followed. However, you do need to inform Nelson Airport of your planned flying activity well in advance.

If you are planning to fly your drone over homes, private gardens or businesses, you also need permission from the people living and working in those areas.

If you want to fly your drone during an event, you need permission from the event organiser first.

Always plan a safe launch and landing site away from the area you want to fly over.