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1. Check if you need an alcohol special licence for your event

When you need an alcohol special licence

You need an alcohol special licence if you are:

  • selling alcohol at an event
  • charging an entry fee or collecting donations where alcohol is being supplied for free.

Examples include:

  • wine tastings
  • private functions (birthdays, weddings)
  • farmers' markets
  • festivals
  • concerts
  • sporting events
  • bus trips
  • ticketed events
  • functions in public venue where public access is not restricted.

You should know

Alcohol cannot be used as a prize in a raffle.
We cannot issue a special licence for fundraising auctions that involve alcohol.

Large events

If you are hosting a large public event, contact us at to arrange a pre-application meeting or to speak to an alcohol licensing inspector. 

Special licence for events spanning more than one day

You can get a special licence for an event that takes place over several days, as long as the event is the same in size, form and substance each day, and is all related.

This includes:

  • an event that takes place over several consecutive days, like a music festival or food and wine show
  • an event that is spread out over time with gaps in between, like a sports tournament that takes place over four consecutive Saturdays.

If you have a number of events that are unrelated to each other, or different in size, form and substance, you will need to make individual applications for a special licence for each event - i.e. one application form per event.

What is not covered by an alcohol special licence

We can only issue special licences for events where alcohol will be sold.

We cannot issue a licence for events where alcohol is being supplied free of charge by the host or for BYO (Bring Your Own) events.

For more information about these types of events, see the New Zealand Police website.