Te Whakangahau me te Waiata i ngā Huarahi
Street performance and busking

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

Street performer on unicycle with flaming torch.

We support high-quality street performance and aim to build on our reputation as a busking-friendly city.

To do that, we must consider the needs of our inner city residents, businesses and other street users, and have some rules about performing on Wellington’s streets. The rules are to keep people safe, allow them to go about their daily business and activities, while supporting our vibrant street performance culture.

Street performers need a licence, which aims to protect both performers and the public.

Applying for a street performance licence

Street performance principles

The Council encourages street performance in public places where the performance contributes to the city’s vibrancy, can be done safely, and doesn’t interfere with pedestrian or traffic flow, business activity, or residential living.

To give residents, retailers and workers a variety of performances, we expect street performers to fairly share the best performance spots (pitches).

Anyone who understands and can comply with licence conditions can obtain a street performance (busking) licence. We can cancel or refuse to issue a performer’s licence if we believe they are acting irresponsibly or unsafely, or not complying with the licence conditions.

Street performance is a valid way to make money, but people should not feel pressured to give money.

If performing with fire, sound greater than 4 amps or other potentially dangerous materials or objects, you will need a special street performance licence as well as the standard licence.

Your rights

Street performers

  • Can perform on one site for up to 90 minutes a day – this includes setting up and packing away.

Members of the public

  • Have the right not give money to a street performer.
  • Can make a complaint if they believe the performance doesn’t comply with the Council’s licence conditions.

Business owners

  • Have the right to complain if they believe a performer is not complying with the Council’s licence conditions.
  • Can ask the street performer to move, if the performance blocks access to the premises or is too loud to carry out normal business activities.

Where you can perform

As long as you meet the licence conditions, you can perform a quiet walk-by or roaming act at any time in most public places in Wellington, including the Railway Station subway.

The exception is public places requiring specific permission.

Public places where you need permission to perform

You need specific permission to perform in:

  • Civic Square
  • City parks
  • Wellington Waterfront. 

To get permission, email info@wcc.govt.nz or phone 04 499 4444.

Sound performance

You can have a sound performance in most public places between 7am and 9pm, but other time restrictions apply at certain locations.

You can perform between 9pm and 3am on Friday and Saturdays at:

  • Courtenay Place, between Cambridge Terrace to Taranaki Street
  • Cuba Mall, between Manners Street to Dixon Street
  • The forecourt in front of the Railway Station

You can have a sound performance between 7am and 8pm at:

  • The Railway Station subway

Circle acts

Circle acts are only allowed in Courtenay Place, Cuba Mall, Oriental Parade, and at the Railway Station outside the forecourt.

Dangerous performances

Performances using dangerous materials or objects are only allowed in Cuba Mall and the Courtenay Place circle.

Busking street performers map.

Contact us

Street Activities
Wellington City Council

Phone: 04 499 4444

Email: streetactivities@wcc.govt.nz

Postal address: PO Box 2199
Wellington 6140