Apply for a film permit
A film permit is required for filming activities in Auckland public open spaces such as footpaths, roads, parks, beaches, regional parks, and other public facilities.
We’ve compiled everything you need to know to prepare your film permit application with Screen Auckland.
Whether you're a seasoned filmmaker or a first-timer, we're here to guide you through the permit application process, ensuring you have the necessary information for your production's filming requirements.
To streamline the application procedure, Screen Auckland utilises Apply4's FilmApp, a widely adopted application system used by various global locations, including offices in the United Kingdom, United States, and other New Zealand film offices.
The Permit Process
Our Screen Auckland Film Facilitators will carefully review your application, providing guidance and suggesting any necessary adjustments before forwarding it to decision-makers.
It's crucial for your submission to be current, comprehensive and detailed, as decision-makers assess the application based on the provided information. Incomplete or inadequate summaries may lead to processing delays, so ensuring accuracy and completeness is key to a smooth approval process.
Before you apply, your production should do a thorough location reconnaissance (recce) or site visit. Then reach out to Screen Auckland’s facilitation team for location feasibility and advice.
Our team can
- Provide location-specific advice, including any special considerations such as Sites and Places of Significance to Mana Whenua
- Asses timeframe requirements if you're filming on Auckland's volcanic cones (Tūpuna Maunga)
- Advise on the consultation process, including engagement with Mana Whenua
- Provide guidance on closed landfills where Asset owner Approval (AoA) may be required
- Advise on other relevant timelines and processes
- Filming dates (including contingency dates)
- Location/s name, address, and any out of hours access requirements (gate open and closing time, toilet access, etc)
- Production details (production company address, contact details, etc.)
- Shoot details (including a synopsis, equipment set-up, crew numbers, etc.)
- Technical vehicles and parking requirements
- Detailed sitemap/s in satellite view. Use this guide to see what Screen Auckland considers a detailed sitemap.
- Site-specific Health and Safety Risk Assessment (and general crew safety notes)
- Public liability insurance of minimum $5 million – Certificate of Currency
- Relevant supporting documents for your specific shoot
- A letterbox drop and/or consultation survey
- Traffic Management Plan (TMP)
- Any SPFX methodology
- Drone operator certification and aviation insurance, and flight plan (if applicable)
- Can I get a fee waiver?
Permit fees are assessed on a case-by-case basis. If your project is not-for-profit, for charity, or part of a community-based project, please contact us to discuss.
- What is the Auckland film permit process turnaround time?
Screen Auckland requires five full working days for processing and consultation from the date we receive a completed application. The time it takes to obtain approvals will depend on the scale of your production and the details of the shoot.
Please note that some public spaces will require additional consultation which may extend the timeframe of the permit being issued. Examples include parks situated over closed landfills, regional parks, the Tūpuna Maunga (Auckland's ancestral mountains) or filming with a Traffic Management Plan (TMP).
For larger shoots that involve road closures or changes to usual public parking (parking resolutions), please allow at least 20 working days for your permit to be issued as public notification is necessary.
- What are the time periods required for consultation?
Medium impact shoots: At least two working days' notice to affected residents and businesses.
High and major impact shoots: At least two working days notice to residents if access to their properties is not impacted; otherwise five days' notice. Businesses require five working days' notice, and their feedback must be sought.
Mana whenua: Productions of all scales are expected to consult with mana whenua across Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland when requesting to film in public open spaces.
Road closures: Two public notices in printed news media are required at least 12 working days before the proposed closure. Screen Auckland facilitates these notices during the film application process but the cost is invoiced directly to the production. The production company bears the responsibility of notifying affected businesses and residents during this period. See Filming within road corridors for more information.
City centre: Retail areas require face-to-face consultation for medium to major impact filming, at least five working days before the activity. This consultation involves delivering flyers in person, recording the names of individuals and businesses consulted, and their initial feedback. Productions should incorporate feedback from businesses and provide it to Screen Auckland with the application.
- What information do we need to provide for local consultation?
Filming activity can have an impact on residents and businesses, so consultation is an opportunity to build relationships and connections before you start filming. Being proactive helps build a sustainable coexistence for future shoots.
Consultation is covered in section 3.1.8 of the Auckland Film Protocol, outlining the guidelines, timeframes and requirements. In general, production companies conducting filming activities are required to communicate with residents, businesses and affected parties.
The minimum requirement involves distributing an approved flyer (letter drop) to each affected residence or business. The flyer should contain essential information such as:
- The activity's name
- Production company name
- Nature of the activity
- Duration (including setup and pack-down periods)
- Contact details for the location manager
- Auckland Council's contact centre number
- In some cases, a parking plan or site map might be necessary.
- Do I need a permit to film on private property?
Screen Auckland filming permits apply to public open spaces only. Permits are only issued for filming on private property if the filming-related activity on the public space supports the private property filming. For example, traffic management support on a public road requires a filming permit when supporting filming on private property, even when the filming activity itself is not on the road corridor.
When filming on private property, you should consult with surrounding businesses and residents prior to your shoot to make sure you do not affect day to day activities in the area.
If you aren’t sure whether you need a Screen Auckland filming permit, feel free to get in touch.
- How can I tell if the location I’m interested in is public or private?
GeoMaps is a geo-spatial map of Auckland, clearly showing the region and its northern and southern boundaries. It is a useful resource for location managers both as another source for aerial satellite images as bases for creating site maps, and to gain extra site-specific information.
Useful layers to add for location feasibility include:
- Regional parks, park asset: these layers allow you to see local and regional park boundaries, fixture facilities and furniture in the parks and along streets – e.g., buildings, sealed surfaces and hard stands, sports field markings, tracks and types of landscape.
- Cultural Heritage Inventory: these sites can include archaeological sites, heritage structures, and botanical specimens.
- Tangata whenua: shows marae, iwi rohe, and Tūpuna Maunga areas.
Guides to GeoMaps can be found here.
If you still aren’t sure if you are filming in a public open space, feel free to get in touch and a Film Facilitator will help you.
- Do I need a permit to film at an event?
If your filming activity is part of an event, it is covered under that event permit so get in touch with the event permit holder. No film permit application is necessary.
Please get in touch if you are unsure.
- What do I need to provide in a detailed site map?
Screen Auckland needs a detailed site map to send to approving decision-makers, so they can understand the activity taking place.
The requirements for a detailed site map are:
- Satellite view
- North to the top
- Location name, street address, etc.
- No broad pin drops
- Clearly labelled
- Set filming area
- Camera position
- Unit base or Ezi-Ups
- Movement paths
- Flight paths
- Parking (note that 50% of parking spaces must remain available for public use in any public parking space)
- Any special request, such as gate access or toilets access, etc.
It’s important to note things like 'non-exclusive use requested' or '50% of the car parks will be left available for public use' to help the decision-makers understand the impact of the activity on the public space.
- What if my filming involves activation or retail activity?
If your filming activity is intended for trading in a public space (for example a photo shoot where customers purchase the copy), giveaways and freebies for a promotion, you may require a public trading license instead of a filming permit.
Find out more about public trading licenses here.
Or feel free to get in touch with our team for advice.
However, please be assured that Auckland Council and council-controlled organisations (CCOs) are bound by confidentiality and will keep your privileged information private and secure.