Trading in public places

In most situations, you need a Council trading licence if you want to sell something in a public place for private gain.

French Kiss Café trading at Post Office Square.

French Kiss Café trading at Post Office Square

You don't need a food licence for a charity or fundraising stall, as long as your operate less than 20 times a year, but you still need to get Council permission.

Check the information below on where and what you can trade, and how to apply for permission or a licence.

Council policy

The rules for trading in public places (for private gain) are set out in the Trading in Public Places Policy:

Trading in Public Places Policy

Charity stalls are covered by the Footpath Management Policy:

Footpath Management Policy

Where you can trade

Private property

Trading from a private property is preferable, as long as you first have the property owner's permission and there are no adverse safety or traffic impacts.

Public property

You can apply to trade at public places such as on road reserves, footpaths, parks and sportsfields.

The Council will consider applications to trade from specific locations based on these factors:

  • safety for pedestrians
  • nature of the goods to be sold
  • appearance of the proposed stall
  • impact on the neighbouring properties
  • layout of the proposed location.

What you can trade

You will need to apply for a trading licence for any of these trading activities:

  • temporary retail and food stalls (for example, a coffee cart)
  • retail kiosks
  • recreational equipment hire
  • hawking
  • open-air markets.


You also need to apply for a Certificate of Registration if you want to prepare or sell food from any private or public property anywhere in Wellington. For help with your registration, contact the Public health team.

Onzo bike share

Wellington City’s first bike share scheme is continuing following a six-month trial. There are 200 single-speed bicycles available for hire around the central city.
Onzo has been granted a trading in public places licence to operate their bike hire share until the end of December 2020.
Onzo trading in public places licence (370KB PDF)
Onzo bike share code of practice (139KB PDF) 
Onzo trial evaluation report (470KB PDF)

Electric scooter share

Wellington City’s first electric scooter share scheme is being run as an 18-month trial, with an evaluation after six months. There will be 800 e-scooters available for hire around the central city and suburbs.

Local start-up Flamingo and JUMP, which is owned and operated by Uber, have both been granted trading in public places licences until the end of 2020. Each will provide 400 scooters.

The main criteria for selecting these operators were safety, their willingness to work with the Council on rider education, and their ability to deliver their operation at the required level.

Electric scooter share code of practice (638KB PDF)

Flamingo Scooters trading in public places licence (79KB PDF)

JUMP trading in public places licence (397KB PDF)


Hawking is trading from a vehicle and only stopping long enough to sell to a customer (for example, an ice-cream van).

You do not need to have a trading licence to hawk goods. However, to hawk food, you need to apply for a Certificate of Registration - use the Selling Food application form above.

Hawking is only allowed in the suburbs outside the central business district.

Christmas trees

You can sell Christmas trees in public places outside the central business district.

You need to follow some commonsense conditions around public safety, access and considering others. If you don't meet these conditions, you may be asked to leave.

Conditions for Selling Christmas Trees (44KB PDF)

You may be able to get a trading licence to use a specific public site within the central business district, but first you would need to send us a proposal, including details of where, when, and size of the proposed temporary stall.

Charity stalls

If you want to run a not-for-profit charity stall on a public footpath, then you need to get approval from the Street Activities Coordinator. Charity stalls are typically only approved in:

  • Cuba Mall
  • Wellington suburbs.

Apply for a trading licence

If you want to propose a new trading activity in a public place, contact the Street Activities Coordinator to discuss your proposal.

Next, complete the Trading Licence application form and return it to the Council, together with your payment and any supporting documents. Fees are listed on the form.

To see an example of the licence and view the conditions, see:

By mail:

Application Processing Officer, Infrastructure
Wellington City Council
PO Box 2199
Wellington 6140

In person:

Service Centre

More information

Street Activities Coordinator

Phone 04 803 8077