Coastal permits

Under the Resources Management Act 1991 (RMA) many activities that effect our coastal environment need to have resource consent from the Otago Regional Council.

This could include activities like building a boatshed, placing a mooring, releasing waste into the water, removing sand or shells, as well as certain plantings.

If your activity is going to affect the land, water, air or ecosystem of a coastal area and you’re not sure if you need a coastal permit, contact our team


Customary Marine title

The Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act provides for iwi, hapū and whānau to have their customary rights in the common marine and coastal area determined. This is called customary marine title. 

What is customary marine title? 

Customary marine title recognises the customary relationship of an iwi, hapū or whānau with the common marine and coastal area. 

What area is covered? 

The marine and coastal area extends from mean high-water springs (roughly the highest point washed by the tide) to 12 nautical miles offshore. 

What does it mean for a person applying for resource consent? 

  • Section 62(3) of the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 requires that where the activity occurs over an area where a customary marine title has been applied for, the applicant must notify and seek the views of the group who have applied for the customary marine title prior to applying for resource consent. You must provide evidence with your resource consent application to demonstrate that this has been done. 
  • Before applying for resource consent, you must: 
    • Identify if any groups have applied for customary marine title in the area affected by the resource consent application (we recommend this website Te Arawhiti - Applications) 
    • Notify the iwi groups and seek their views on the application
    • Provide any views expressed by the iwi groups with the consent application 

Otago Regional Council will consider the views of the groups that have applied for customary marine title when making decisions on coastal resource consent applications. 

What about in the future? 

If customary marine title is awarded to these groups, activities requiring resource consent (including controlled activities) will not be able to be undertaken unless an 'RMA permission right' has been obtained from the group. 


Marine farms

Any application for a marine farm requires a decision by the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI)/NZ Fisheries on whether a proposed aquaculture activity will have an undue adverse effect on recreational, customary, or commercial fishing because it restricts access to or displaces fishing. This is a separate process from the resource consent process, but ORC will pass on your application on your behalf. For more information on the process for marine farms, see the aquaculture decision provisions in the Fisheries Act 1996, or the MPI website. 


Other aquaculture activities

Aquaculture in the Coastal Marine Area is currently managed under the RMA and its planning instruments such as the National Environmental Standards for Marine Aquaculture (NES–MA), the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement (NZCPS), and regional coastal plans. The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) is investigating improvements to aquaculture management processes to support sustainable aquaculture growth and to deliver on the Crown’s settlement obligations under the Māori Commercial Aquaculture Settlement Claims Act 2004, in line with the Government’s Aquaculture Strategy. 


Boat shed consents

Boat sheds are normally used to store boats and their associated equipment. 

The rules 

Any sort of building on the foreshore restricts public access to, and along, that piece of coast.  

Our Regional Plan: Coast for Otago has rules in place to protect the cultural, natural and amenity values of the coastal marine environment.  

These rules mean you may have to get a coastal permit for the use, development and occupation of any structure (including boat sheds) anywhere in the coastal marine. Some signs and discharging contaminated water or waste to the coastal marine area may also require resource consent. 

A resource consent gives boat shed owners: 

  • A legal right to use the boat shed and the foreshore and seabed upon which it sits 
  • Adds value to the boat shed should the owner wish to sell 


Use our Harbourmaster consultation form for all resource consent applications that may affect navigational safety:

The sale and purchase of boatsheds and other coastal structures

The sale and purchase of boat sheds is a civil matter and not something we are involved in. However, if you are purchasing a boat shed you will want to ensure that any associated coastal permits are transferred into your name. 

To transfer a coastal permit to a new permit holder you will need to complete a Notice of Transfer of Holder of Permit (Form 15)

This application can be submitted to  

The deposit fee for the transfer of a consent is $200 and information on how to pay this is can be found on our Do it Online: Pay It section.

Coastal permits often come with conditions attached to them. It is important to read and understand these conditions. The holder of a coastal permit is responsible for ensuring that all conditions are complied with.

We are responsible for monitoring compliance with coastal permit conditions. Our Compliance Team will work with you to help ensure you comply with the conditions of the coastal permit for your boat shed.

A one-off compliance administration fee of $150 will be charged on all new applications. This covers the cost of compliance monitoring systems (excludes any associated audit costs).

There will be an expiry date on your coastal permit. If you wish to continue to occupy the coastal marine area with your boat shed after the expiry date, you should apply to replace your coastal permit at least six months before that date.

To replace a coastal permit to occupy the marine coastal area you will need to apply for a new coastal permit.

The application forms used to apply for a coastal permit for a boat shed can be found on our Ready to apply for a consent page.


If you have any more questions, please get in contact with us at

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