Non Resident Licence

If you are a visitor from overseas planning a fishing trip, you must purchase a Non-Resident Licence (NRL).

“Non-resident” means a person who, on October 1, is NOT ordinarily a resident in New Zealand. A Resident is someone who is a New Zealand citizen or:  

  • New Zealand citizen living overseas but returning for holidays (may not have established New Zealand residence but holds a New Zealand passport) 
  • holds a residence class, student, or work visa, and 
  • has lived in New Zealand for at least six of the 12 months immediately prior to their licence purchase, and 
  • has New Zealand as their primary place of established residence.  

A person who is not an ‘ordinary resident’ must hold a Non-resident fishing licence or a Non-resident day licence. To fish with other licence categories is the equivalent of fishing without a licence. 

A non-resident licence entitles the holder to fish for sports fish for 12 months in the period beginning on 1 October and ending on 30 September in all Fish and Game regions excluding the Taupo Fishing District. A non-resident licence is necessary if you want to fish in a Designated Waters Fishery for which you need to get a non-resident Designated Waters Day Licence

If you only want to experience a short fishing excursion, anywhere from a few hours to a full day, you can purchase a One Day Licence. However, remember that only the non-resident whole season licence allows you to fish a Designated Waters Fishery.

An NRL entitles an Adult (18 years and over on 1 October) to fish anywhere in New Zealand (except the Taupo Fishery administered by the Department of Conservation). The NRL costs $180 and is a Whole Season Licence, valid from October 1 to September 30.

After an NRL has been purchased the holder can apply for a Designated Waters Fishery and Controlled Fishery Licence.

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 can issue NRLs.

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 departure for it to reach them in time. Otherwise a postal address in New Zealand can be provided so the licence is ready for collection on arrival.

Non-resident anglers are not eligible for standard Adult Whole Season, Family Whole Season or Winter Season Licences.

The legislation makes any angler found fishing with the “wrong” licence liable to prosecution as though they have no fishing licence.

The maximum penalty for this offence is $5,000. The revenue gained from Non-Resident Licences has been ring-fenced and dedicated to management of back country fisheries.