Keeping animals on residential properties

If you want to keep animals on residential properties, you must comply with Part 2 of the Wellington Consolidated Bylaw.

Domestic animals are an important part of many households. However, they need to be kept in a way that protects the public from nuisance, maintains public health and safety, and protects the welfare of the animal.

For details and more information on restrictions or required approvals for keeping animals in Wellington, see: Wellington Consolidated Bylaw 2008 - Part 2: Animals

For more information about running or setting up an animal boarding establishment, such as a kennel or doggy day care, see: Animal boarding establishments



If you want to keep bees in your garden, the position of your hive is important. Bees establish a single flight path and drop wax and waste along their way. Hives on private property must not affect neighbouring properties and public spaces.

The Council's Environmental Health Officers will respond to complaints where bees might be causing any nuisance or danger to other residents.

If you want to establish a hive on Council-administered land (e.g. at a community garden), you will need a licence. See our guidelines to find out more about what conditions need to be met to receive a licence.

Contact Apiculture New Zealand about beekeeping registration and disease prevention in your area.

Guidelines for keeping Bees on a private property

  • Hives must be registered with AsureQuality and all hives must prominently show the Beekeeper’s Apiary Registration Number. Register here: Apiary Registry 
  • A maximum of four hives can be placed on any one urban or residential site  
  • The bees must not be kept in such conditions or hives sited in such a way that creates or is likely to create a nuisance to any person e.g. bee flight-paths and aggression. 
  • Beekeepers must ensure that gentle strains of bees only kept, if the bees become aggressive, the colony should be re-queened or removed.
  • Council will investigate any complaints or may recommend removing some hives 

Avoid placing hives close to:

  • a neighbours house 
  • vegetable gardens
  • clothes lines
  • children’s play areas
  • areas frequently used by people, e.g. walkways, playgrounds 
  • driveways
  • road side/footpaths

In residential areas the hive should be behind a two meter high fence, trellis or hedge.

Properties in urban areas should have no more than four hives – in some cases on smaller properties only two hives are appropriate. For example townhouses, apartments, small sections and houses within a close proximity.

Please consider the below when looking to have up to four hives on your property:

  • How big the property is
  • How close the neighbours are
  • Previous complaints about your bees 
  • How many neighbours border your property

If you are unsure on hive numbers feel free to email Wellington City Council on to set up an appointment with an Officer.



All domestic cats over the age of 12 weeks in Wellington must be microchipped and registered with NZCAR (New Zealand Companion Animal Register). For more see our Cats pages.



For detailed information about keeping dogs, registration, exercise areas, and dog control, see our Dogs pages.



Under the bylaw:

  • goats must wear an ear tag (an RFID tag or similar) or collar to indicate that they are not feral
  • all goats kept in the city must be kept confined on their owner's property.

Guidelines for owning a goat:

  • Goats need plenty of space and food 
  • It is recommended Goats are not tethered
  • Goats need all their needs meet under the Welfare Act
  • It is recommended you contact council to check your property is adequate to house a goat

Other stock

It is not recommended by Council that farm animals such as sheep, horses, pigs, alpacas etc are kept in back yards in the Urban setting, as they are likely to cause a nuisance to neighbours.



Poultry includes chickens, hens, geese, peacocks and roosters. There are welfare and health requirements that owners need to meet when keeping poultry. Check the Wellington Consolidated Bylaw 2008, Part 2 Animals for more information.

Under the bylaw:

  • Poultry must be adequately contained to the owner’s property.
  • Permission is required to keep more than eight poultry.

For permission to keep more than eight poultry, contact a Public Health Officer on 04 499 4444 or

Guidelines for housing and cleaning chickens:

  • The location of chicken coops can be very important for minimising potential nuisance to neighbours. When locating a chicken coop, owners should consider how this may affect their neighbours and locate the coop in a place that is least likely to cause a nuisance. Placing it right up against neighbouring properties or near outdoor living areas has the potential to cause a nuisance, as hens can be noisy when they lay and there is a risk of chicken coops becoming smelly in the summer months.
  • The owner of any chicken must regularly clean their chicken coop as appropriate to maintain the chicken coop in a dry, clean condition and state of good repair, free from any offensive smell, overflow and vermin.

Other Poultry

Council do not recommend owning geese, peacocks or any other vocal bird in an urban area, as they are likely to become a nuisance  


Roosters are not allowed to be kept in urban areas. Crowing roosters are nuisance issue for urban communities. However, you can apply for permission from the Council to keep roosters in an urban area.

If you want to seek permission to keep a rooster, contact a Public Health Officer.


Rabbits and Guinea pigs

These animals need to be confined to a cage, or if free ranging, need to be contained within your property to not cause a nuisance to neighbours.

The owner of any rabbit or Guinea pig must regularly clean their hutch as appropriate to maintain the rabbit or Guinea pig in a dry, clean condition and state of good repair, free from any offensive smell, overflow and vermin.


Stock impounds

Wellington City Council has contracted Hutt City Animal Services to investigate reports of wandering stock. Animal Services officers have the right to seize and impound any wandering stock.


Stock will not be released until all costs have been paid. Failure to claim impounded stock does not relieve the owner from costs.

Description Fee
First impounding $106.00
Subsequent impounding within 1 year $170.00
Daily sustenance fee $18.50
After hours callout $29.00