Events may require a resource consent (e.g. for significant noise or changes to the site of the event) and/or a building consent (e.g. for temporary structures and marquees).

In New Zealand, organising events may require obtaining resource consent, especially if the event involves activities that could have an impact on the environment, traffic, or public safety. Resource consent processes are governed by the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA), which is the primary legislation for the sustainable management of natural and physical resources in New Zealand.

The RMA requires that district and regional councils prepare a District or Regional Plan. These documents contain various policies and rules to manage environmental effects throughout the region. If your event cannot comply with the relevant rules, resource consent will have to be obtained before you can hold the event. Please contact your Local Council early in the event planning process to check whether your event will require resource consent.  

Factors that may cause a resource consent to be required include (but not limited to):

  • Nature of the event – e.g. changing the existing use of the site of the event.
  • Noise generated by the event – e.g. exceeding permitted noise limits.
  • Duration of the event – e.g. exceeding permitted hours of operation.
  • Signage.

Resource Consent

There are a number of event activities that may require resource consent due to potential noise, environmental impacts, public safety, traffic management and other disruptions including:

  • Large-Scale Concerts or Festivals – Events that involve a large number of attendees, stages, amplified music, and built infrastructure.
  • Outdoor Sporting Events – Sporting events, especially those held in natural or sensitive areas such as waterways.
  • Fireworks Displays – Organising fireworks displays often requires resource consent due to safety and environmental concerns.
  • Markets and Fairs – Large-scale markets or fairs that involve temporary structures, increased traffic, and potential environmental impacts.
  • Film or Television Productions – Filming activities, particularly those involving the use of public spaces or natural areas.
  • Weddings and Private Events – Large weddings or private events held in outdoor locations, parks, or sensitive areas.
  • Motor Racing or Motorsport Events – Events involving motor racing or other motorsport activities.
  • Cultural or Religious Gatherings – Large cultural or religious events that attract a significant number of people.
  • Public Demonstrations or Protests – Public demonstrations or protests may require consent, particularly if they are expected to attract large crowds or impact public spaces.

Building Consent

Erecting temporary structures for events, such as stages, marquees, or grandstands, may require building consent due to safety concerns, and the potential impact on the landscape and surrounding areas.

  • Building consent applications must be lodged a minimum of 20 working days before the date of your event.
  • For events that are having larger or more complex infrastructure it is recommended to lodge your application three to six months in advance.
  • Applications for a building consent for your event are required if you are using any of the following:
    • Marquee over 100 square metres
    • Complex marquee
    • Stage over 1.5 metre high
    • Scaffold structure
    • Grandstand
    • Portable building over 10m2
    • Temporary artwork

Application Process

Specific requirements can vary between different regions and local councils in New Zealand therefore event organisers should contact the relevant Local Council early in the planning process to determine whether resource consent and/or building consent is required and to understand the specific conditions and procedures for obtaining consent. The process will, however, generally follow a common pattern as follows:

  • Contact the Local Council – Get in touch with the local council in the area where the event is planned. They will provide guidance on whether resource consent and/or building consent is needed and the specific requirements for your event.
  • Application Process – If resource consent and/or building consent is required, you'll need to lodge an application with the Local Council.
    • Because of the time it takes to process consent applications, it is important to apply early! In general, resource consent applications will take up to 20 working days to process (if there isn’t a need for public notification).
    • For resource consent applications, these will include details about the event, its impact, and any mitigations you plan to implement:
      • Description of the event, location, date, duration and how it will operate.
      • Site plan showing layout of activities, buildings, parking areas, signs and other structures.
      • Estimated attendees, including staff and contractors.
      • Noise levels likely to result from the event.
      • Signage for the event – details of what is proposed.
      • Assessment of environmental effects including noise, increased traffic, changes to the use of public space and visual effects.
    • Public Notification – Depending on the scale and impact of the event, the Council may require public notification to process the resource consent application. This involves informing the public about your event and its potential effects, allowing them to make submissions. This can take up to 70 working days to process therefore the more time allowed to process resource consents, the better.
  • Council Assessment – The Council will assess your resource consent application, considering factors such as environmental impact, traffic management, noise levels, and any other relevant concerns. They may also consult with other agencies or stakeholders.
  • Decision – The Council will make a decision on your resource consent application – they may grant it as is, grant it with conditions, or decline it. If declined, you may have the option to appeal the decision.
  • Compliance – If your resource consent is granted, you must comply with the conditions specified as failure to comply may result in penalties or fines.

For up-to-date and detailed information, please visit the local council's official website or get in touch with their resource management or planning team. They can provide you with the most accurate and current information regarding resource consent and/or building consent for events.

Useful Links:
Have you considered?
  • Do any of your event activities require resource consent?
  • Do you have a large marquee, tent or grandstand that could require a building consent to erect?
  • What permits may be required for your event? Visit our Permits section here