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Auckland Council

3. Know the busking rules

When you perform, you need to:
  • carry your licence at all times
  • carry photo identification
  • comply with the street performance and busking licence conditions.

Street performance and busking licence conditions

You must comply with these conditions or we may revoke your licence.

 1. Holding a licence

​Anyone performing in a public place must hold a current Auckland Council Street Performance Licence. This does not apply to those performing as part of an organised event.

You must carry your licence and photo identification at all times while you are performing, and show it when an authorised officer asks to see it.

You must sign your licence to show that you agree with these conditions.

 2. Performance times

​You may perform quiet acts at any time and at any public place managed by Auckland Council so long as you hold a licence and meet all street performance conditions.

You can play any instrument, use public address system or amplified sound devices on any day between 7am and 9pm, as long as you comply with the conditions of the Trading and Events in Public Places Bylaw 2015.

Sound performances in designated areas can have extended hours, as identified by the Auckland Council.

You must comply with the instructions of Auckland Council on site and must move or cease performing if requested by a nearby building occupant.

 3. Restricted areas

​You can perform in these areas only with permission from the relevant authority or department of Auckland Council:
  • Britomart Railway Station and the Station Plaza immediately at the rear of the station
  • Britomart Precinct
  • Viaduct Harbour.

You may perform in Aotea Square, but you must first check with the Aotea Square manager to see if an event is scheduled or if construction work is taking place.

In the future, Auckland Council may designate other restricted areas.

 4. Noise

​You have to ensure that you are not creating a nuisance or making excessive noise. This responsibility applies under the Resource Management Act 1991 and is also a condition of the Public Safety and Nuisance Bylaw 2013.

One of our officers can also direct you to reduce excessive noise. As a guideline, sound levels from any street performance act should not:

  • disturb customers or staff of nearby businesses
  • be greater than usual background noise when heard from 30m (horizontal or vertical) away from where the performance is taking place.

Our officers can assess usual background noise. They assess the sound volume of a street performance taking into account the location, time, day of the week, weather and traffic conditions and other activities happening in the area.

 5. Sound performances

​Sound performances have special conditions. Sound performances that meet all the conditions outlined in the code of conduct may take place on any day between 7am and 9pm.

We may extend sound performance hours during organised events.

 6. Outside of areas with designated pitches

​Outside of areas where we have identified designated pitches, sound performances must be sited 50m away from another sound performance.

 7. Time limits

​Performers, or groups of performers, are limited to a maximum total of 90 minutes on any one site. This includes up to 60 minutes of performance and up to 30 minutes set up and pack down per day on any one site.

The exception to this condition is for circle acts or performers with a special street performance permit. Circle acts or acts with SSPLs may perform a maximum of two acts on the same site, on the same day if they ensure there is a break in between the two performances of at least 30 minutes.

 8. Performing in areas with designated pitches

​When performing in areas with designated pitches, only these sites may be used for street performance.

 9. Unavailable sites

​Any street performance site or pitch can become unavailable due to Auckland Council public works or organised events located on or around these sites. Pitches may move, be temporarily unavailable or permanently removed at Auckland Council’s discretion.

You must follow the direction of Auckland Council authorised officers if any street performance site or pitch becomes unavailable either temporarily or permanently.

 10. Organised events

​In the case of an organised event, performers should not try to associate themselves with that event and should be sited at least 500m from the edge of that event.

If your performance is part of a permitted organised event, you must comply with the conditions set out in street performance permit and any other conditions.

 11. Circle acts

​Circle acts may only take place in designated circle act sites.

In the CBD, the only approved sites are Queen Elizabeth II Square and Freyberg Square.

 12. Performing outside retailers

​If you are performing directly outside a retailer and you are breaking the code of conduct, you must move on if the retailer requests you to do so.

 13. Access

​You must ensure free and safe access for pedestrians along any pathways or thoroughfares near the performance pitch. You and your audience must not block shop doorways during business hours, bus stops, fire escapes, roads and residential doorways.

Wheelchair access around a pitch must be maintained at all times.

You must not perform within 5m of a road intersection including any pedestrian or traffic signals.

 14. Performance material

​You should have sufficient repertoire to fill the length of your performance (maximum 60m playing time) without repetition of items or songs.

If you keep repeating items or songs, you may be asked to stop performing. You must immediately comply with this request.

 15. Selling merchandise

​You can sell CDs of your original work in addition to your performance, during the performance or set up and pack down period.

A small sign (no larger than A4) on the pitch may alert the public to this opportunity.

You may not display, demonstrate or advertise other goods or services for sale or associate yourself with advertising in conjunction with your performance.

 16. Donations

​You may give audiences an opportunity to provide voluntary donations by placing a container on your pitch or by asking an audience for donations.

You may not approach individuals requesting money or solicit funds in a way that is likely to cause any discomfort to members of the public.

 17. Harm

​You must take all practicable steps to ensure your performance causes no harm to you or members of the public.

Street performance artists are not covered by Auckland Council’s public liability insurance. You are liable for any damage to public property and we advise you to have personal public liability insurance.

 18. Cleanliness

​You must ensure that the pitch being used is kept clean and tidy before, during and after a performance.

 19. Special Street Performance Permit

​You must get a Special Street Performance Permit (SSPP) if you intend to use dangerous materials or objects. In issuing an SSPP, Auckland Council is only limiting the location of such a performance - we are not condoning or accepting responsibility for the content of the performance.

We issue SSPPs only to individuals and not groups. Each performer in a group must hold a current licence.

We may withdraw a SSPP if any of the conditions of the street performance permit is not meet. Any performer whose license is withdrawn is not eligible to reapply for at least one year.

The performance space must be defined by setting a visible boundary of at least 2m between the performer and the audience using:

  • a roped or chained off area
  • a chalk line that is removed once the performer has completed the act.

Acts using flammable materials must include a fire blanket or fire extinguisher in their performance kits. This should be visible and accessible throughout the performance.

 20. Pavement art

​Pavement artists must work directly on the footpath using materials that can be washed off with water without leaving a residue. Materials must not be slippery or likely to impact on public safety

Advertising is not permitted in/on pavement art.

See our guidelines for pavement art.