Event Planning in our District 

So, you want to put on an event for the community and visitors in your town, fantastic!  

There is lots to consider and we have written this guide to help you plan your event and have created forms to help you and us ensure that the health and safety of the public, volunteers, organisers and participants is duly considered.   

Council understands the importance and positive well-being impact of events and how they create opportunity for people to feel they belong and where they can connect to one another. Community events contribute to building strong, healthy and vibrant communities and foster resilience, belonging and pride. They can bring a wide range of social, cultural, and economic benefits for Ōtorohanga, residents and visitors.  

Ōtorohanga District Council embrace our responsibilities under Te Tiriti o Waitangi and understand that Mana Whenua hold special cultural and spiritual connections with the land and environment. This includes wahi tapu (sacred sites), taonga (treasures), water and ancestral lands. When considering holding an event, it is good practice to connect with mana whenua. There are many benefits in looking for opportunities to learn from and engage with mana whenua including learning about local history, and understanding traditional views and practices. Is there opportunity for you bring the local culture to life through your event, that might include narrative, cultural practises or partnership? If you would like help to identify and contact mana whenua in your area, our Kaitakawaenga / Iwi Relations Advisor can assist you. Mana Whenua means people of Māori descent who have historical and territorial rights over an area.  

Community Boards are elected groups of residents that help Council understand the community’s view and it is important (although not mandatory) to consider their feedback on your event. Council staff can help arrange for to meet or present to your respective board at the right time in the event planning phase.  

Make an event booking 

One of the most important things you need to do is book your venue. Council staff will assess your request and will contact you to confirm your booking. We may also contact you for further details or with additional requirements (e.g. if your event requires a resource consent). 

Please call our Customer Experience team on 0800 734 000 or 07 873 4000. 

Event Application Form 

If your event takes place partially or entirely on public land (including roads, footpaths, parks, reserves, council venues and sports grounds) it requires approval from Council. Completing this form will help determine if you need permits or approvals and will help us to help the you deliver a successful event.  

This form must be submitted to Council at least two months prior to your event date to ensure staff have enough time to review the event and work with you on details required before the event date. 

If your event is on private property you may still require a resource consent for the event. You can contact Council to talk to the duty planner first to see if a resource consent is required or not. 

Our events advisor will track your application through Council’s event application process and council staff may contact you during this time for further information to assist with this application, or they may request a meeting. We will let you know once your application has been approved 

Event Application Form  [DOCX 59 KB]

Risk Assessment and Event Safety Management Plan 

Health and safety for both event organisers and the public is one of Council's top priorities. Depending on the size and nature of your event, we may require you to complete an Event Safety Management Plan [XLSX 55 KB] If a plan is required, we will contact you about this as part of the event application process. 

The objective of an event safety management plan is to create and document a plan to control the safety risks i.e. to keep event staff, volunteers, public and property safe. Whilst the health and safety team will review this form and provide some guidance, the responsibility for safety at the event lies with the event organiser(s). This form is to be completed by the event organiser and submitted to ŌDC Health and Safety Team. 

Fire and fireworks 

If your event involves fire (including chinese lanterns), you will need to check the Fire Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) website. During a restricted fire season you will require a fire permit from FENZ; whether or not a permit can be issued will depend on the fire danger. If you will be lighting fireworks we recommend advising neighbours about the event and the noise effects. WorkSafe New Zealand also have a code of practice for outdoor pyrotechnic displays. 

Selling food and/or alcohol 

Any event where alcohol will be sold will require an alcohol licence - usually a special licence. More about different licence types, fees and applications is available on our Licensing webpage.  If you need a Special Licence you need to lodge your application with Council at least 20 working days before your event. 

Anyone selling food at your event will need to comply with the requirements under the Food and Safety Act 2014. 

Signage and promotion

There are rules around where you can have signage promoting your event, as well requirements for those signs (e.g. minimum letter heights if the sign is visible from the road). And they will differ between State Highways and Council owned roads.  For rules around signage refer to section 20 of the District Plan. The local i-SITE Visitor Information Centres has as an Events Calendar on their website and may be able to help promote your event.  


If your event is going to use or cause noise (e.g. live bands, PA systems, DJs, crowd noise, loud vehicles etc) we recommend advising neighbours about the event and the noise effects. If your event requires a resource consent, this may be a requirement of your consent. 

Resource and Building Consents 

Some events may trigger the requirement for a building consent (e.g. for marquees or amusement devices) and/or resource consent (e.g. for significant noise, traffic, or amenity effects). If a consent is required, we will contact you about this as part of the Event Application process. 

WorkSafe New Zealand also have requirements for land-bourne inflatable devices (e.g. bouncy castles, inflatable slides) that you must comply with. 

Aircraft (e.g. helicopters and hot air balloons) 

You must get permission to operate aircraft in any public place (including parks). If your event involves aircraft, please indicate this on your application form and we will contact you for further information (such as landing zones, operating procedures, public liability insurance etc) before confirming Council permission. There is no cost for this, however you need to apply to Council for permission at least 14 working days before your event. 


Much like aircraft, if your event involves UAVs, please indicate this on your application form and we will contact you for further information before confirming Council permission. Approval (if issued) will be subject to conditions including compliance with the relevant Civil Aviation Authority regulations and may include other conditions if necessary, such as restricting it to a particular part of the park or during certain times of the day. There is no cost for this, however you need to apply to Council for permission at least 14 working days before your event.

Changes to your event

Please note, if there are any changes to your event that you've booked with Council it's important to let us know about them as the requirements could also change.