To ensure that you enjoy a successful filming experience in our city, it is important to think about what you will require, before you begin filming or arrive in Christchurch.

Apply for approval to film in Christchurch

Unless your activity fits the below criteria for filming without a permit, you must apply for a filming permit. 

Application assessment and approval takes approximately two weeks, but may take longer depending on the complexity of the planned activity. In the instance of a major road closure up to 84 days notice can be required.

Fees and bonds may be required to cover the cost of accommodating some filming activities. A copy of the fee schedule is supplied on the acceptance of your application to film.

Please read the Ōtautahi-Christchurch screen protocols 2020 [PDF, 600KB](external link) before you apply.

Deciding on your location is one of the first steps

The Council is generally happy for filmmakers to make the most of our green spaces, parks and streets but asks that they gain approval to use these locations. 

Christchurch people are rightly proud of their unique surroundings and want to ensure that they are valued and protected by everybody.

Visit the Smartview parks page(external link) If you need information on parks or get in touch with us at

Botanic Gardens and Mona Vale

If you want to do commercial photography and film in the Botanic Gardens and Mona Vale you will need to get permission first, regardless of whether or not a permit is required.

Weddings, functions and photography

Wedding photography and filming must be booked for the Botanic Gardens and Mona Vale. For all bookings and further information, please contact us:

Printed confirmation of your booking must be carried by your photographer on the day.

Visit our Botanics Gardens page(external link) for more information on weddings, functions and photography.

Contact the Council as early as possible

This should ensure that there is enough time to process your filming application. 

If you are unsure whether you need approvals for your project please see the criteria below, or email an outline of your proposed activities to

The coordinator will reply as soon as they have looked at your request and determined which approvals may be needed. 

Given the popularity of Christchurch's public places, it pays to apply early to secure a location for the time that you need it.

Filming without a permit

If your activity fits within the criteria below, there is no need to apply for a filming permit, but please notify the Filming Coordinator about your activity including the number of talent/crew, filming equipment, locations, dates and contact on the day on:

Please note

If you are wanting to film in the Botanic Gardens you will need to get permission first, regardless of whether or not a permit is required.

Criteria for filming without a permit

  1. A filming activity of nine people or less, inclusive of all production crew and talent.
  2. Infrastructure of no more than handheld cameras, one tripod and handheld sound recording equipment. No lighting or sheltering equipment on stands. No camera tracking devices, vehicles, sizeable props or generators are included.
  3. Public safety is maintained at all times and all public pathways/footpaths/cycling paths and roads must not be blocked. A minimum of 2.5 metres is required on footpaths for pedestrian thoroughfares at all times.
  4. No disruption is caused to the city's stakeholders (traders, residents and businesses) or motorists or other events in the vicinity of the activities.
  5. Filming equipment must not be hard up against or attached to any Council street furniture, infrastructure or assets including trees, shrubbery and garden beds.
  6. No vehicle access is permitted in Parks and gardens or past any street bollards without a permit.

Student filming

If you are filming as part of a student/school project your activity must meet the criteria to film without a permit (in the drop-down box above).  This includes tertiary and secondary school projects.

As part of your course work, you must email the with your proposal, and wait for a written response before proceeding.

If your proposal does not meet the criteria to film without a permit, then you must adhere to the full film permit process and in addition to submitting a film permit request, you will also need to send through a site-specific health and safety plan, site plan, confirmation of public liability insurance for consideration. Normal filming fees and charges may apply.

What we may need to know

Film crews wanting to apply for a film permit application are required to submit the following documents:

  • Filming information.
  • Site plan.
  • Public liability insurance.
  • Health and Safety Plan.

Other information the Council may require includes:

  • The potential impact on the park/space (eg altering tracks, temporary.
  • If any structures are to be erected.
  • Procedures to tidy up and remove any waste.
  • Procedures to protect public safety (signage, security).
  • How noisy your activity will be.
  • Power, water and toilet supplies requirement.
  • How parking will be managed.
  • A traffic management plan may need to be submitted with the application form if any activity is to take place on the city's streets or roads. This plan should say what will happen to traffic during filming and what actions will be taken to ensure public safety and minimise traffic disruption.
  • Temporary road closures – the effect of your activity on traffic flows:
    • Road closures generally require the greatest amount of prior warning.
    • A full road closure can require up to six weeks notice but sometimes applications can be processed in just a few days if, for example, the request does not require traffic-stopping.

So that everyone, including local residents, enjoys a positive film-friendly experience, the Council may ask you to advise affected residents and business owners of your filming activity by mail, a letterbox drop or a personal visit.

Leaving the site as you found it and being polite to passersby will also help in fostering the community's receptiveness to location filming in our area.

Film permit fees

  Low impact Medium impact High impact Major impact
Film permit administration fees $0 $175 to $350 $350 to $700 $700 to $1250

Determining the impact of your filming

  Low impact Medium impact High impact  Major impact
Permit status  A permit may be required  Permit required  Permit required – other applications and necessary consent may also be required  Permit required – other applications and necessary consent will also be required
Number of people onsite Up to 9 crew and talent combined  Up to 30 crew and talent combined  Up to 50 crew and talent combined  Up to 100 crew and talent combined
Number of equipment vehicles No trucks. Cars, utes, and vans only  3 trucks  6 trucks  12 plus trucks 
Infrastructure requirements  No infrastructure   Minimal infrastructure e.g. pop-ups  Some infrastructure - may require building exemption  Significant structures - will require building exemption 
Equipment  requirements  Handheld equipment and one tripod  Minimal equipment, e.g. camera tracks, slider, lighting Equipment used, e.g. camera cranes  Extensive equipment 
Traffic management  No disruption of the roads nor footpaths  Basic traffic management required  Traffic management required including road closures  Significant traffic management required. Closing of major roads 
Impact on the public  No disruption is caused to council stakeholders, businesses, residents, motorists or other events in the vicinity. Could be minor disruption to council stakeholders, businesses, residents, motorists or other events in the vicinity. Local letter notification required  Likely to be some disruption to council stakeholders, businesses, residents, motorists or other events in the vicinity. Local letter notification required and possibly consultation  Likely to be significant disruption to council stakeholders, businesses, residents, motorists or other events in the vicinity. Local letter notification required and possibly consultation.  

Drones and remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS)

The use of lightweight drones or RPAS, is allowed in most parks and reserves managed by the Council, but there are some important rules and guidelines to follow.

Before you fly, check the rules and request permission(external link) to fly over Council property.

Commercial filming and photography

Commercial filming and photography in gardens and parks need prior approval as the gardens and parks are public spaces and no area can be hired exclusively.

To apply for permission to carry out commercial photography and filming, contact the Filming Coordinator at (03) 941 8999 or

Charges for filming and commercial photography start at $550 per day.

Your request must outline:

  • Purpose of your shoot (including a description of what is planned).
  • Day and duration.
  • Part of the gardens you will use.
  • Equipment and props to be used.
  • Number of people involved on site.