Can I light a small fire, or even a bonfire, on the beach?

Question Details: What are the rules about having a fire on the beach? Does it matter which beach I'm at?

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Answers by Lawyers

Community Law Wellington & Hutt Valley

It depends on which part of NZ you live in. Some regions have a total fire ban, while other areas will allow you to light an outdoor fire but only with a fire permit. You will need to contact your local Department of Conservation office if the land is DOC land or near DOC land ( You should also check out the rules with your local council.

In Wellington, for example, if you want to light an outdoor fire, you need to get a fire permit. And there are only two beaches that you can ask for a permit for. Go to your local council office, or look at their website, to download an application form for the fire permit. In Wellington, applications can take up to 7 working days to process as the fire site needs to be inspected to make sure it is safe enough for an open fire. There's more information here:

Answered 29 May 2012. The IMPORTANT NOTICE below is part of this answer.

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