To use a helicopter to carry out aerially assisted trophy hunting, either commercially or for personal gain, you must have a concession from DOC.

Aerially assisted trophy hunting (AATH), also known as heli-hunting, involves flying recreational hunters and their guides into high country areas by helicopter in search of trophy animals.

This includes carrying recreational hunters (and their guide) by helicopter, actively searching for wild animals with trophy potential, on the ground guiding and killing of the wild animal and the recovery of the animal by helicopter.

AATH concessions do not provide approval for the live capture of wild animals. There is also a cull requirement, under DOC supervision. See the AATH permit sample for more information.

Find out how to apply for a concession below. 

Pre-application meeting 

Applying for a permission for the first time can be a little tricky. To ensure your application goes smoothly we advise you to contact us to have a pre-application meeting. We’ll help you to:

  • Understand the permission you will need to apply for.
  • Navigate our statutory planning documents, so you can consider whether the activity you wish to undertake is consistent with them.
  • Understand DOC’s responsibility to give effect to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, which requires consultation with Treaty Partners on most applications. If you wish, DOC can help you contact the local iwi, hapū, and whānau to assess whether your proposed activity will have any cultural effects. Often this consultation can enhance the activity you are considering.

Type of concession 

If you plan to undertake AATH you will need to apply for an AATH permit.

Locations of AATH activity

You will need to identify the locations for your AATH activity on your application form 8a. The 2022-2025 permit identifies 62 blocks in the South Island that have been assessed as suitable for AATH activity under that permit period. See location maps or email If you wish to apply for one of these locations, simply note the block(s) in section F on your application form 8a.

You can also apply for AATH activity on public conservation land that sits outside of the 2022-2025 permit blocks. However, if you apply for a new location, you will need to include enough information about the location and your activity to enable a full assessment to be carried out by the Department when processing your application. Your application may require public notification and will cost more to process than pre-approved blocks. 

Note, the 2022-2025 permits expire on 31 May 2025. 

Apply for your concession

Find out more

Find out more about the process and how to prepare your application.

Permissions application process

Preparing a permission application


Complex applications could take a number of months to be processed. For applications that include new locations (ie beyond the 62 land blocks) the timeframe will be determined on a case by case basis.

How long it takes to process an application


We will invoice you once we have processed your application. The cost of your application will depend on the areas you apply for. The standard fee which applies to one of the 2022–2025 blocks is $400 plus GST ($460 including GST) plus an additional $115 plus GST ($132.25 including GST) for each additional 1–10 blocks. 

If you apply for one or more new locations (ie beyond the 62 land blocks) you will be charged the cost of processing your application. Processing costs are calculated on an hourly rate basis and are payable whether your application is granted or declined.  An estimate will be provided to you once you have applied.

You will also be required to pay ongoing concession fees.

Safety plan 

As part of your application you will need a safety plan.  

AATH permit 

See our 2014–2019 AATH permit sample (PDF, 489K) for an example of what your permit will look like and the conditions it will set out.  

Location maps: 2022–2025 permit

Overview: AATH 2022-2025 permit blocks (JPG, 3,652K)

Contact us

For more information or assistance with your aerially-assisted trophy hunting concession contact

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