• Phil Evans

Keeping Bees in Residential Areas, by Council – Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty

PHIL EVANS, the hobbyist beekeeper who fought to have restrictive beekeeping rules in Waipa overturned, has compiled a series of articles summarising various Council’s requirements for keeping beehives in residential, urban areas. This month he starts in the north of the country, detailing 19 Councils.


Of the 19 Councils in Northland, Auckland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty, 12 have (as best I could research) no rules pertaining to beehives in residential or urban areas, while seven have specific rules.


Complaints about bees are managed under the bylaw stated for each Council. This means the council will investigate, and may suggest changes to location, entrance dir

Phil Evans

ection, water availability, fence height, or removal on a case-by-case basis.


Disclaimer – The information presented here should be used as a guide only, and has been found on the Council’s websites and by my best research. For full details of rules, restrictions, fees etc. for keeping bees in your region, please contact your local Council.


The following councils have NO formal restrictions, other than nuisance guidelines in the associated bylaws below.


Auckland Council Animal Management Bylaw 2015 Hamilton City Council Animal Nuisance Bylaw 2014 Otorohanga District Council Keeping of Stock, Poultry and Bees 2019 Waipa District Council (Animal Nuisance Bylaw being developed) Waitomo District Council Mention of Bees in Stock Policy (no bylaw) Waikato District Council Keeping of Animals Bylaw 2015 South Waikato District Council Keeping of Animals, Poultry & Bees Bylaw 2017 Kawarau District Council General Bylaw Control of Stock, Poultry & Bees 2019 Opotiki District Council Consolidated Bylaws 2020 Tauranga City Council Keeping of Animals Bylaw 2018 Whakatane District Council Control of Animals Bees & Poultry Bylaw 2018 Rotorua Lakes Council General Bylaw 2017


The following Councils have specific rules, and may require permits and fees. Nuisance rules are included in the associated bylaws for each Council.


Far North District Council General Bylaws, Chapter 13, Keeping of Animals, Poultry & Bees 2007

Licence required to keep hives. Cost is $108 per application (as at June 2020) Council may prescribe location and number of hives


Kaipara District Council Consolidated General Bylaw 2020, Part 6, Keeping of Animals, Poultry, Stock & Bees

Restrictions on the number of hives in urban areas < 1000m2 – 2 hives > 1000m2 – 4 hives

Permit required for additional hives (fees may apply) Extensive guidelines for keeping bees are included in the Bylaw.


Whangarei District Council Animals Bylaw 2017

Restrictions on numbers of hives < 700m2 – 2 hives

701-4000m2 – 4 hives > 4000m2 – 6 hives

Permit required for additional hives Fees: $168 per application, plus $168 per hour of time required.


Hauraki District Council Nuisance Bylaw 2019 (as amended 2020)

Permit required to keep bees in urban, and low-density residential zones Application fee of $60, and Property inspection fee of $100, and adjacent owners’ opinions are required. Entrances must face away from neighbours and a 1.8m fence between adjacent dwellings is required. The usual nuisance rules apply. Rural areas no restrictions or costs.


Matamata-Piako District Council Public Safety Bylaw 2014 (amended 2019)

Written permission is required, generally 2 hives only in residential areas. All neighbours must give permission. If one refuses, the application may be refused, or specific restrictions put in place (location, direction of entrance). The Bylaw is quite vague, with full details only provided by asking very specific questions. No fees are required.


Thames Coromandel District Council Animal Nuisance Bylaw 2019

If 1.8m boundary fence or taller, hives must be 3m from boundary. If fence less than 1.8m, hives must be 5m from boundary. Hive numbers: < 500m2 – No hives 500-2000m2 – 2 hives 2000-4000m2 – 4 hives > 4000m2 – 6 hives There is no option for more than these numbers of hives.


Western Bay of Plenty District Council Animals (excluding dogs) Bylaw 2019

Only 2 hives in residential urban properties as defined in District Plan


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