Flying in New Zealand

Haere Mai! Welcome to New Zealand


New Zealand loves to welcome visitors!

We have fantastic flying sites and something to offer every pilot.

Our laws may be different to what you are used to so please read on to find out about flying legally and safely.

NZHGPA membersip is a mandatory requirement to fy PG or HG legally in New Zealand.

Flying without membership and a licence could lead to prosecution and substantial fines by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). NZHGPA membership includes a compulsory $5 Million Public Liability insurance policy that is required to access our flying sites. If you are injured as a visitor  in New Zealand, you may be covered for certain treatment under ACC Health Care  As a pilot arriving in NZ, you have two options:

      • Join us as a visting pilot if you intend on being here for less than 4 months.
      • Join as a full member if you intend on being here for more than 4 months.

Accepted National Licences

 International IPPI – Parapro or Safe Pro or above, with no supervision requirements.  IPPI cards must be accompanied with a current national licence.

Recongised National Licences: (IPPI not required, but helpful)

  • Australia – PG3 or above.
  • USA – H3 or P3.
  • Canada – Intermediate
  • Great Britain– Club Pilot
  • South Africa – PG Sport licence or HG A licence with hill launch endorsement.
  • Switzerland – Pilot
  • Germany – A Licence
  • France – Pilot
  • Austria – Sonderpilotenschein or Grundberechtigung

Others may be accepted after checking the standards of the country that issued it.  If your country is not on the list, the easiest option is to get an IPPI card from your home country before you come to New Zealand. Processing times can take a matter of weeks so don’t leave it to the last minute!

Learning to Fly

New Zealand is a great place to learn and we have many schools that provide pilot training for visitors. Please contact a paragliding or hang gliding instructor in the area you wish to learn to fly. You will need a student membership,  which is available to purchase on our membership page.


New Zealand has strict biosecurity requirements to prevent exotic pests and diseases from establishing here. This means that you should ensure that your glider and harness are free of seeds and insects before you leave home, and they may be subject to inspection at the airport when you arrive in NZ. This shouldn’t be anything more than a minor inconvenience if it’s all been cleaned beforehand, but just be aware that it may take a little while to clear border security when you arrive. Photos and videos of the cleaning of all equipment may be useful in speeding up clearance at customs, but there is no guarantee and you may still be subjected to a physical inspection.

Guide to NZ Flying

Many pilots visit flying sites outside their own region. New Zealand is known for it’s micro climate, and trade winds, for your own safety and to ensure that you don’t jeopardise arrangements between landowners and local flyers, you must ALWAYS CHECK WITH LOCAL PILOTS BEFORE FLYING. That way you won’t upset landowners or pilots, you will be shown all the best sites and will be welcome back.

Many site names and locations are not published due to flying sites being lost due to visiting flyers who have upset landowners in the past.

Visit our local clubs page for local contacts and be familar with our Emergency Safety information before flying. 

You must check association operational rules, airspace and flying site rules.

    • Be familiar with the CAA and NZHGPA Rules for flying in NZ read the Operational Producers Manual (OPM), Community standards and Pilot code of Conduct. 
    • ANY SITE in New Zealand can have airspace or other rules that restrict flying in that area. Even in remote areas there are tourist operations and many environmentally sensitive areas that may not be obvious to you but must be respected. Please don’t risk our safety, our sites, or a prosecution and fine by flying illegally.
    • CHECK FIRST with the local pilots by contacting local clubs , or a paragliding or hang gliding school.
    • Read the VFR guide and sit the VFR test to get familiar with our airspace rules. Download the NZ Airspace files and buy the Airspace charts


The use of VHF radios common in Europe is not permitted in New Zealand without a special license. Most of our pilots communicate with each other using UHF radios which operate in the 476-477 MHz range. Max power 5 W. Check your radio covers the right channels!

Using an Airband Radio in NZ requires an Airband Radio Licence, International licences are recognised if you have one please submit it to the NZHGPA. Otherwise it is possible to get one once here in NZ.

NZHGPA Country Code

Association members are dependent on good relations with farmers and others who own the land we fly on. Pilots shall adhere to the Country Code to ensure they and other Pilots will be able to continue to fly:

    1. ALWAYS CHECK with local Pilots before flying at new sites;
    2. ALWAYS ASK PERMISSION to fly, unless you are absolutely certain that the owner allows use of the site without asking
    3. CHECK AGAIN at springtime, as most farms have pregnant and new-born stock that can easily be frightened and injured
    4. DO NOT show displeasure or abuse to an owner, if permission is refused. This could hamper getting permission in the future
    5. VEHICLES-ALWAYS GET PERMISSION to take a vehicle onto property. Put all gliders on/into one car, rather than having a convoy crossing the property. Drive slowly near stock and cautiously to avoid having an accident, or creating a dust trail. Always give way and pull over for farm machinery or other vehicles
    6. LEAVE GATES as you find them. Gates maybe closed to keep stock in or open to allow stock to feed. Ensure that all Pilots and drivers understand
    7. USE STILES and gates wherever possible. If you must cross a fence, cross at a post or strainer post.
    8. AVOID hay, standing or cut, unless permission has been given to cross it
    9. AVOID landing in paddocks containing crops or stock. Carefully move off crops to avoid damage.
    10. DO NOT LIGHT FIRES at any time
    11. DO NOT SMOKE during times of fire risk
    12. DO NOT TAKE DOGS on to any farm or property
    13. DO NOT disturb plants or machinery, move around it

Visiting Pilot Membership

(Flying on overseas ratings)

NOTE: All applications and documents MUST be in English or have a translation.

Step 1: complete the online NZHGPA VFR Exam and download your certificate

Read the VFR Study Guide then complete the NZHGPA Visual Flight Rules (VFR) exam 

(password: vfr2020) and present the certificate with your application

Step 2: Join the NZHGPA as a visiting member

Step 3: Submit your Overseas ratings/License/NZHGPA VFR Exam Certificate to the NZHGPA NOTE: All applications and documents MUST be in English or have a translation.

Step 4: Make sure your application has been approved. This can take up to 5 working days but may be faster if you supply everything we need. Please check your emails for confirmation of membership and your Pilot ID Number (PIN) before flying.

Step 5: Familiarise yourself with the NZ flying guide above then enjoy flying in NZ!!!

If you have a current pilot licence listed above or an IPPI card level 3 and a current national licence from the country that issued the IPPI card press ‘join us’ below. You will have to scan and send us a copy of your licence and IPPI card and NZHGPA VFR Exam Certificate. Have them ready before you start the application and make sure we can read them!

Your visiting pilot membership allows you to fly in NZ with the same restrictions as you have in your own country. If your licence is expired in your own country, then it is expired in New Zealand too.

If your licence includes any level of supervision, you must contact an instructor in New Zealand and fly under their supervision.

As a visitor you do not need a New Zealand Warrant of Fitness (WOF) on your equipment, provided it meets WOF requirements in your own country.

 Note: your membership is not complete until we have checked the licence and approved your membership. This can take up to 5 working days but may be faster if you supply everything we need. Please check your emails for confirmation of membership and your Pilot ID Number (PIN) before you do any flying.

Full Pilot Membership

(Converting Foreign Ratings to NZ Ratings)

 NOTE: All applications and documents MUST be in English or have a translation.

If your foreign licence is expired or if you want to fly in New Zealand for more than 4 months, then you will need an annual 12 month, full membership and rating conversion processed.

If your licence is not one that we recognise in New Zealand, you may need to pass an assessment for a New Zealand licence with an instructor. Please check with us if you have a licence that is not on the list above and we will advise you.

Step 1: Join the NZHGPA as a Full Member

Step 2: complete the online NZHGPA VFR Exam and download your certificate

Read the VFR Study Guide then complete the NZHGPA Visual Flight Rules (VFR) exam 

(password: vfr2020) and present the certificate with your application

Step 3: Complete the Overseas Equivalency Form and attach relevant documents.  NOTE: All applications and documents MUST be in English or have a translation.

Step 4: Get a Warrant of Fitness on your Equipment

HG WOF Inspectors               PG WOF Inspectors

Step 5: Check your membership profile has the ratings issued to it.

Step 6: Familiarise yourself with the Guide to NZ Flying above and then…Enjoy flying in our beautiful country!!!

 Please visit one of the Paragliding Schools or Hang Gliding Schools to ask about foreign licence conversion and the WOF inspectors. You can expect to get charged a fee by the instructor for doing tests and assessments.

Working in New Zealand

Working in New Zealand as an instructor

    •  Instructor’s certificates will only be issued to full members of the NZHGPA
    • You will require a current First Aid certificate, and pass an assessment by an NZHGPA appointed assessor.
    • Instructors may apply to convert their home country rating to a NZHGPA rating. Contact our Training manager for information [email protected]. There is a fee for this process.
    • Instructors must be able to demonstrate a good command of the English language.
    • Be prepared to present proof of your foreign rating, a log book and current NZHGPA membership.
    • You will have to complete the NZHGPA VFR exam and you may be requested to complete other relevant exams for the disciplines you will be teaching.
    • Processing times can take a matter of weeks, don’t leave it to the last minute!

Working in New Zealand as a tandem pilot

    • Commercial tandem flights for hire or reward are operated under separate Civil Aviation Rule through a  Part115 adventure aviation organisation.  
    • Pilots who wish to work for commercial tandem organisations must have a commercial tandem pilot certificate issued by the NZHGPA. 
    • You can only fly commercial tandem flights under the control of a certified Part115 tandem operator. Contact an operator listed in Tandem Flights before you apply to the NZHGPA. 
    • Foreign pilots with recognised licences may get their tandem rating recognised in New Zealand by applying to the hang gliding or paragliding training manager these applications will require a practical flight assessment by an NZHGPA appointed flight examiner.