Before you can legally own a gun in New Zealand you need to apply to the Police for a gun licence. A list of local Arms Offices is available under ‘Shooters Resources’ on this blog. They are specialist personnel who process such applications.

If you are 16 or 17 years old and wish to buy or use an airgun unsupervised, you also need a standard firearms licence.

New Zealand shooters used to have a lifetime firearms license. It was promised that this would not change.


This has since become a ten yearly license. Because people are subject to severe personality disorders exactly every decade. Obviously.

The Green Party and some academics are pushing for this to become a five yearly or even an annual tax.

All part of pricing kiwi shooters out of their sport.

We must oppose this relentless stupidity.

Here is how to apply for a standard gun licence for the first time:

Step 1

Book with a local arms officer to attend a firearms safety course and then sit the safety test.

Step 2

The ‘Arms Code’ is a booklet with the official rules for the safe handling of guns in New Zealand. This is available from the Police or can be downloaded from the link below.

Fill in the application form at the back of this book.

You then take the completed form to a PostShop and pay the application fee. Be sure to keep the receipt. The cost for a ten year license is $126.50 (including GST):

Step 3

Take your application form to your nearest arms office.

Also take with you two recent passport style photos.

Bring proof that you have completed the safety course and your receipt from the PostShop.

Bring three documents that prove your identity. This can be your passport, birth certificate, driver licence, photo ID or credit card/bank card.

Bring the contact details of two character referees. One referee must be your spouse or next of kin, the other must be someone who is over 20 years old and not related to you.

Step 4

Purchase a safe to store your firearm. Think ahead. If you are going to own more guns in the future – or intend to upgrade to an endorsed license for pistol shooting – then take this into account when selecting the model. This can avoid the hassle of swapping safes later.

Step 5

A police representative will arrange to visit you. They will interview you and check your firearms security arrangements. They will arrange to interview your referees.

That’s it.

You will be told that your application was successful and then your gun license arrives in the mail and you can purchase your first firearm.

UNLESS…. You will have difficulty being deemed ‘fit and proper’ to possess or use firearms if you have a history of violence, involvement with drugs, have been irresponsible with alcohol, if you have mental health issues or have associations with criminals.

If you want to enjoy pistol shooting or collect restricted weapons then you must apply for an additional ‘Endorsement’ to the standard license. 

Target pistols require a ‘B’ endorsement.

The invented category of military-style semi-automatic rifles or shotguns require an ‘E’ endorsement.

Collectors or Theatrical producers or Museum curators will require a ‘C’ endorsement.

Dealers offering firearms for rent or sale as a business require an ‘F’ endorsement.

Please Note: If you are visiting New Zealand for less than a year and need a firearms licence – you may apply for a visitors license.

WARNING: The NZ Police DO NOT recognize self protection as a reason to possess a firearm. The simple act of suggesting this as a reason or benefit to owning guns is considered enough to decline your application.

The application form can be downloaded here:

More information about applying for a New Zealand Fireams license can be found here:

Here is a useful primer video:

Notify the Police of any change of address. This is the law.

The man featured in the gun license image that accompanies this article is a criminal. Police say that he made this license himself. Also others under different names.

According to the media, he was also somehow able to acquire permits to procure restricted weapons from the police.  Licenced dealers and collectors were urged to be on the alert for the man last year.

The Kiwi Gun Blog has asked the Police for details of this man’s fraud and if he has since been captured. Stay tuned.