Firearms & Liquor licences 

Do I need a firearms licence if I just want to learn how to shoot ?

Depending on what kind of firearm you wish to learn to use, you will need to either hold a standard firearms licence or be closely supervised by someone who does (a standard firearms licence allows the holder to use a sporting type of shotgun or rifle, or a pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) air rifle).

Sporting firearms - you don’t need a firearms licence to learn how to use a sporting firearm (a firearm intended for hunting), provided you are being supervised by a firearms licence holder. The person supervising you must be close enough to you to be able to take control of the firearm if necessary.

Military-style semi-automatic (MSSA) firearms - if you are learning to use a MSSA you must hold a valid firearms licence that has an endorsement allowing you to use an MSSA.

(including air rifles, air pistols, BB guns, soft air pellet guns and paintball guns):  

  • If you are aged 18 or over you don’t need a firearms licence to use an airgun without supervision. 
  • If you are aged 16 or 17 you will need a firearms licence before you can use an airgun. 
  • If you are aged under 16 years you will need to be under the immediate supervision of either a firearms licence holder or a person 18 years of age or older.

More information about this is in Section 3 of the Arms Code, which you can view on the Police website.

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How do I apply for or renew a firearms licence?

You have to be at least 16 years old to hold a firearms licence. You can apply for a new licence or to renew an existing licence by filling out the New Zealand Firearms Licence form online or at your local police station.

To apply:

  • if you are applying for a new licence (not a renewal) you will need to first complete a firearms safety course with the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council and sit a test. In the test you need to be able to demonstrate a good understanding of firearms safety and of the Arms Code
  • download the  New Zealand Firearms Licence from the NZ Police website or obtain a printed form from your local police station (ask for the Arms Officer).
  • take your completed application form to a Postshop and pay the application fee (around $126 for a standard licence)
  • go to a Police station with:
    • your old licence (if you’ve got one) 
    • two recent passport-style photos 
    • three documents that prove your identity (birth certificate, passport, driver licence) 
    • contact details of two referees
    • the Postshop receipt for the fee 

The Police will use the information you’ve supplied to do a background check on you. You and your referees will also be interviewed by a vetting officer.

More information is available on the Police website.

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What could result in a firearms licence being revoked?

A Police Officer can revoke your firearms licence if you behave in a way that shows you are not a “fit and proper person" and can issue you with a written notice revoking your licence. When you receive the notice you will have to hand over to the Police any firearms in your possession.

You might be deemed not a "fit and proper person" if you:

  • have had a Protection Order issued against you;
  • have a history of violence;
  • have been repeatedly involved with drugs;
  • have been irresponsible with alcohol;
  • are in a personal or social relationship with people whom the Police think should not to be given access to firearms;
  • have indicated an intent to use a firearm for self-defence;

You can appeal the decision by applying to the District Court - you may need to get legal advice if you are considering doing this.

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When is a liquor licence required and how do I apply for one?

You will need a liquor licence if you plan to sell liquor to the public. There are four types of liquor licence:

  • On-licence (e.g. pub, restaurant)
  • Off-licence (e.g. bottle store, supermarket)
  • Club licence (e.g. sports club, RSA)
  • Special licence (e.g. for a food and wine festival, a music festival)

To apply, you need to get consent from your local council. You should contact the District Licensing Agency (DLA) of your local city or district council.

If you are granted a liquor licence, you will have to abide by the conditions of the licence – these will include when you can sell alcohol and to whom you can sell alcohol.

The Health Promotion Agency's Alcohol website has more information about applying for a liquor licence