Street performance & busking

If you want to perform or busk on the city streets, you'll need a licence.

Street performer on unicycle with flaming torch.

Street performer

Wellington City Council aims to balance the interests of all street performers with the needs of inner city residents and businesses. 

With that aim in mind, we have developed the Street Performance and Busking Policy Handbook (500KB PDF).

Copies of the handbook are also available from the Council's Service Centre, 101 Wakefield Street.

Service Centre

Street performers and buskers

You must hold a current Street Performance Licence. These are free and valid for 6 months at which time you can reapply. 

Apply for a licence

Print the application form below, or pick one up at the Council's Service Centre.



Street Performance Licence Application Form (96KB PDF)

Take the completed form to the Service Centre, with proof of identity, so we can issue your licence.

If you use dangerous materials or objects in your performance, then you also need a Peer Review Permit. Refer to the handbook above.

Licence conditions

As a licensed busker or street performer, you must:

  • present your current licence on request
  • act responsibly
  • comply with all conditions in order to keep your licence.

Limited areas

You must get permission from the appropriate authority to perform in any of these locations:

  • Civic Square - Wellington City Council (04) 499 4444
  • Parks - Wellington City Council (04) 499 4444
  • Waterfront - Lambton Harbour Management (04) 495 7820
  • Te Papa forecourt - Te Papa Tongarewa (04) 381 7000

Noise limits

Noise from any street or sound performance must be 'reasonable background noise' when heard from more than 30m from the performance.

The Council's noise control officers consider location, time, weather, traffic conditions and other activities in the area to decide reasonable levels. See Sound Performances and Busking below.

Sound performances and busking

A 'sound' performance may involve a musical instrument, amplifier, loud voices, more than four voices, or any noise-making object (tools, motors, etc).

Time limit

You can perform a sound act on any one site for 90 minutes and occupy that site up to 150 minutes. The 60 minutes of non-performance is reserved for setting up, breaks and packing down.

Hours and locations

You can perform in any public place between 7am and 9pm.

Your sound performance should be no closer than 50m to another sound performance.

Late night hours

The following areas offer extended hours between 9pm and 3am:

  • Courtenay Place - from Cambridge Terrace to Tory Street
  • Cuba Mall - from Manners Street to Dixon Street
  • Railway Station subway and outside forecourt

Walk-by acts and quiet performances

A 'quiet' performance means no amplifier, musical instrument or noise-making objects. It can involve up to four performers if the tone is conversational.

A 'walk-by' performance means that the audience will generally pass by without stopping to watch.

As long as all other conditions are met these acts may be performed at any time and in any public place, including the subway and outside the forecourt of the Railway Station.

Circle acts

Circle acts are performances that encourage an audience to stop and watch or participate in the performance.

Time limit

Your act can last between 20 and 40 minutes.

Hours and locations

You can perform between 7am and 9pm in these public places:

  • Cuba Mall
  • Courtenay Place
  • Oriental Parade
  • Railway Station subway and outside forecourt