Opotiki says yes to drones

It has been announced that at a council meeting last week, Opotiki District Council approved the use of drones, and other remote vehicles, in the Eastern Bay of Plenty town's reserves. In early August, the Opotiki District Council introduced the idea of having a ‘blanket approval’ for drone use in council reserves without the need for people to apply for permission every time they wanted to do some aerial shooting.The new rules for drone use, introduced by the Civil Aviation Authority, state that drone users must have consent of the property owner, or the person in charge of the area you are wanting to fly above.

This blanket approval will ensure that unmanned vehicle users will not need to individually apply for permission to use their devices.

Mike Houghton, the community facilities manager at the district council, has said, “We welcome safe and healthy forms of recreation. Operating restrictions in proximity to our aerodrome will not change, but flying drones over the rest of our reserves would be welcome, along with footballs, kites, frisbees, and boomerangs.”

Maps showcasing the boundaries of council reserves will be available soon on the council's website — the rules surrounding the aerodrome remain unchanged with a 4km exclusion around the area. You can see drone footage captured by hobbyist Peter Jackson while flying over Opotiki in the video below: