If you’re a visitor from overseas planning more than a brief fishing trip, you must buy a Non-Resident Licence (NRL).
A non-resident is defined as a person who is neither a New Zealand citizen nor a permanent resident (as those terms are defined in section 4 of the Immigration Act 2009).
A New Zealand citizen (by birth certificate, passport, citizenship) is not a non-resident, regardless of place of residence, and doesn’t require an NRL.
A Non-Resident Licence entitles the holder to fish for sports fish from October 1 to September 30 in all Fish & Game regions, excluding the Taupo Fishing District managed by the Department of Conservation.
The NRL costs $165 and is a Whole Season Licence. This figure includes a $38 levy used to improve back country fisheries.
Non-Resident Licences can be purchased online or in person (if you are in New Zealand) at a hunting or fishing store that sells licences – agents with online purchasing facilities are able to issue NRLs.
Alternatively, overseas visitors can apply for, and have their licence mailed to them at an international address in advance of their trip to New Zealand, but need to allow at least 15 working days before their departure for it to reach them in time. Otherwise a New Zealand postal address can be provided so the licence is ready for collection on arrival.
Non-resident anglers are not eligible for other whole season or part-season licences.
However, a holder of an NRL is entitled to a back country fishery endorsement.
If you’re a visitor just planning a short fishing trip anywhere from a few hours to a full day, you can buy a One Day Licence for $20 (This doesn’t allow you to fish the back country waters).
An angler found fishing with the “wrong” licence can be prosecuted as though they have no fishing licence.