If you’re a visitor from overseas, you must buy 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 (NRL) entitles the holder to fish for sports fish in all Fish & Game regions, excluding the Taupo Fishing District managed by the Department of Conservation. It includes a levy used to contribute to fisheries management and habitat protection.

The NRL Whole Season Licence for adults costs $264, NRLs for juniors (12-17) and children (under 12) cost $50.

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 Non-Resident Licence for $37 (Adult), or $22 for a junior or child.

This One Day NRL does not allow you to fish in a Designated Waters Fishery, to fish in one of those fisheries a valid Designated Waters Licence is required, to find out more, click here.

But after a Whole Season NRL has been purchased, the holder can apply for a Designated Waters Licence and Controlled Fishery Licence at no additional cost (except for the upper Rangitikei back country fishery which costs a mandatory $25 for all anglers).

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. They should 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 licence categories.

An angler found fishing with the “wrong” licence can be prosecuted as though they have no fishing licence. This can incur a fine/prosecution of up to NZD $5,000.00.