Special Licences

This page contains helpful information about what class of special licence you may require, the process for applications, as well as what is required of you and what your application is likely to cost.  

When to apply  |  Licence types  |  Process for applications  |  Amenity and good order  |  Application fees

When to apply

A Special Licence is needed when:

  • an event is being held in a place that is not licensed (e.g. a park or community hall);
  • the event will run outside the licensed premises current hours or conditions, but cannot be for an extension of licensing hours (i.e. it must be an event); or
  • alcohol is being supplied at no cost, but there is a cover charge to enter the event or a meal charge.

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Licence types

There are two types of special licence:

a) On-site special licences (for consumption of alcohol on premises)
b) Off-site special licences (for consumption away from the premises)

Anyone can apply for a special licence, but must demonstrate that an event is taking place, and it will be managed in a responsible way.

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Process for applications

All applications must be made at least 30 working days prior to the event. Where an application is filed with less than 20 working days prior to the event, the District Licensing Committee (DLC) may consider the application (or not). If the DLC is satisfied that the need for a special licence could not have been reasonably foreseen earlier - (e.g. a funeral) - they may accept an application made less than 20 working days in advance of the event.

Please note: The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 has a non-working day period from 20 December – 15 January each year, this period counts as ONE working day. Special licences need to be submitted at least 30 working days prior to the event.

Special Licence Application - On (335KB pdf)
Information Sheet - What is a Special Licence? (124KB pdf)

Please note large events require an Alcohol and Event Management Plan to be submitted with an application:

Event management plan template (81KB doc)
Alcohol management plan template (50KB doc)

It is also advised that you read Guidelines for managing alcohol at large events (3MB pdf).

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Amenity and good order

All licence applications (including Special Licences) must demonstrate how the amenity and good order of the locality would not be reduced by ‘more than minor’ extent if the licence was granted.

This includes aspects like:

  • Current noise or possible future noise levels
  • Current or possible nuisance and vandalism
  • Rubbish in an area caused by the premises
  • Location to sensitive sites such as churches, educational facilities etc

The DLC must in considering an application, also have regard to:

  • The number of premises for which licences of the kind applied for are already held;
  • The purpose for which land near the premises concerned are used;
  • The purpose for which those premises will be used if the licence is issued

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Application fees

The Sale and Supply of Alcohol (fees) Regulations 2013 specify the default fees for all applications. Special Licence fees are fixed and are dependent on the size of the event. Tararua District Council's fees can be viewed in the latest Fees and Charges.

Every special licence issued by a territorial authority must be of one of the following classes:

Class 1


  • 1 large event
  • more than 3 medium events
  • more than 12 small events

Class 2

  • 3 to 12 small events:
  • 1 to 3 medium events

Class 3

  • 1 or 2 small events

Large event means an event that the territorial authority believes on reasonable grounds will have patronage of more than 400 people

Medium event means an event that the territorial authority believes on reasonable grounds will have patronage of between 100 and 400 people

Small event means an event that the territorial authority believes on reasonable grounds will have patronage of fewer than 100 people

Application Type

 Total amount payable

Special Licence - Class 1*

 $ 575.00

Special Licence - Class 2*

 $ 207.00

Special Licence - Class 3*

 $ 63.25

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