Navigating the Flames: Your Guide to Fire Pit Regulations in NZ

Navigating the Flames: Your Guide to Fire Pit Regulations in NZ

Calling all Kiwi fire pit enthusiasts! If you're like us, nothing beats gathering around a crackling fire pit with mates, a cold one in hand, and some snags sizzling on the barbie. But before you go all gung-ho with your smokeless fire pit, it's critical to know the ins and outs of fire pit regulations here in New Zealand. So, settle in as we explore the rules and regulations NZ-style! 


*It is important to note rules and regulations can change, even from season to season, so if there is any doubt, check with your local council. The following is informative only. It is not instructions. With all that said… let’s begin. 

The Spark behind the Regulations

Briefly, let's explain why fire regulations exist and why it is important to follow them. Restrictions or temporary fire bans are put in place when there is an increased risk of the fire spreading uncontrollably. 

There are three “Fire Seasons”:

  1. Open Fire Season
  2. Restricted Fire Season
  3. Prohibited Fire Season

Open Fire Season

This means you can light a fire in the open air without any restrictions. (Applies whenever there is not a prohibited or restricted fire season in national parks or DOC conservation land, for example)

Restricted Fire Season

This means you must be able to follow certain safety guidelines to light a fire without a permit. Examples of these guidelines include but are not limited to:

  • Your fire area must be less than one square metre (This is the case for all of our fire pits)
  • Don’t light your fire within 3 metres of any part of a building, hedge, shelter belt or any other combustible material.
  • You must have a suitable way to extinguish it within easy reach. (In case of emergency)

Prohibited Fire Season

This means you are not permitted to light a fire. Not allowed. 

By heading to the link below, you can check what fire season your address is in and what safety guidelines you must follow.

Location, location, location.

Remember that different local councils have different rules, even certain areas within a city may have different rules. Here is an example.


In Christchurch, for properties under two hectares, you cannot burn outdoors, even if you are in a rural area. The only exception is for outdoor cooking - including BBQs, pizza ovens, hāngī or umu – if the smoke is not offensive or objectionable beyond your property boundary.


In Queenstown, there are several areas that are subject to a total fire ban all year round. You may not light a fire at any time. Examples include Queenstown Red Zone, Pig Island and Coronet Forest.

In Conclusion 

So, there you have it—a crash course in fire pit regulations! Remember, it's all about enjoying the great outdoors responsibly, whether you're firing up the barbecue or toasting marshmallows under the stars. So, go forth, fellow Kiwis, and may your fires burn bright and true—within the bounds of the law, of course! Cheers. 

If in doubt - your best resource is here:

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