• Phil Evans

Keeping Bees in Residential Areas, by Council – Central North Island

This month PHIL EVANS continues his series of articles summarising Council’s requirements for keeping beehives in residential, urban areas by detailing 13 Councils from the Central North Island.

In these areas, five Councils have (as best I could research) no rules pertaining to beehives in residential or urban areas, while eight have specific restrictions.

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 direction, 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 through contact with Council staff. 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 their associated bylaws.

Taupo DC Animals Birds and Bees Bylaw 2016

Hastings DC Consolidated Bylaws October 2016

Horowhenua DC Animal Nuisance & Keeping of Pigs Poultry & Bees Bylaw 2014

Ruapehu DC The Ruapehu Bylaw 2018

Tararua DC Chapter 13 - The Keeping of Animals, Poultry and Bees

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

New Plymouth District Council Animals Bylaw 2020.

· Hive Numbers

  • <600sqm – 3 hives

  • 600-750sqm – 5 hives

  • >750sqm – 7 hives

· To increase number of hives in urban areas, you must contact NPDC.

Stratford District Council Keeping of Animals, Poultry and Bees Bylaw 2020.

· No restrictions on hive numbers, but no hives are permitted on, adjacent to, or in close proximity to any parks or reserves that is under the control of Stratford District, without written permission from Council.

South Taranaki District Council Keeping of Animals Bylaw 2018.

· No hive can be positioned less than 10m from any boundary, urban or rural.

· 2 hives only on sections under 2000sqm.

· Hives no higher than 1.2m.

Whanganui DC Keeping of Animals, Poultry and Bees Bylaw 2020.

Urban Areas

· Water Source required, 2 hives only on urban properties.

· Hive must be registered with Council.

· Location at least 3m from boundaries and footpaths, or 10m from neighbouring dwellings.

· Flyway barrier of 1.8m high for hives less than 8m from boundary. Barrier must extend either side of hives by same distance in front of hives.

· Resource consent for any fence or barrier over 1.8m high.

Non-urban areas

· Hives must be 40m from any boundary, roadside, public place, right of way.

· Bees must fly above 1.8m at boundary.

Central Hawkes Bay District Council Part 13 - The Keeping of Animals, Poultry and Bees 2018.

· No bees shall be kept in any urban area.

Napier City Council Animal Control Bylaw 2014.

· Permit required for all urban hives. No cost.

· New rules as of 2021:

  • Property inspection & neighbour interviews required

  • <500m2 – 1 hive

  • >500m2 – 2 hives

Wairoa District Council

Consolidated Bylaw 2019 Part 3 – Public Safety.

Conflicting info from Council staff and bylaw. Staff say hives are “banned” in urban areas, and that urban areas are not suitable for bees. The Bylaw states a permit is required, plus the usual nuisance requirements.

Gisborne District Council Bylaw Keeping of Animals Poultry and Bees 2012.

Gisborne DC is potentially the most restrictive council in the country.

· Hive Numbers

  • < than 600m2 – no hives

  • 600m2 and 900m2 – 1 hive

  • 900m2 or more – 2 hives

  • 3 beehives may be kept on properties over 900m2 where no dwellings or sensitive uses exist on adjoining properties

· Rural townships – a maximum of 2 beehives on the property.

· Fence height of 2.5m.

· Water trough required.

· Inspections must be at times agreed with neighbours.

· Splits must be removed to maintain numbers as above.

  • Splits made between March & August removed by 30th September.

  • Splits made between September & February removed within 6 weeks.


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