Noise control

Under the Resource Management Act 1991 and the Kaikōura District Plan, the Kaikōura District Council has the power to control excessive or unreasonable noise and helps protect the ambience of the district for residents by controlling unreasonable and excessive noise.



Excessive noise – what is it?

Excessive noise is any noise that is under human control and of such a nature as to unreasonably interfere with the peace, comfort and convenience of any person. Visit the New Zealand Legislation website for the full definition.

There is no one set level for noise that is acceptable. The level of noise that is acceptable varies according to location of neighbours, time of day, zone you live/work in, presence of sound barriers and the type of noise. The same noise levels during the day may not be acceptable at night.

The Kaikōura District Plan sets noise levels across the District. The levels are generally lower for the night time and also depend on the zoning of the land. Business zone levels are generally higher than other zones. Once you know what zone you are in you can see the noise levels acceptable under "Performance Standards - Noise".


How to report a noise problem, and what happens?

  • Report the excessive noise while it's happening. You can do this by calling the Council on 03 319 5026 and following the options offered.
  • A noise control officer will assess the complaint. 

    They will decide if the noise is reasonable or excessive by considering: volume, time, reason for the noise, whether or not the noise has a particular tonal character and how often it occurs and for how long.

  • If they find people are creating excessive noise, they will issue a verbal or written notice (this notice is valid for 72 hours)  to reduce the noise to a reasonable level (most people will cease excessive noise at this stage) 

    In the case of people noise, the officer can require the noise to be reduced but if there is anti-social behaviour the police should be called.

  • If further excessive noise complaints are received within the 72 hours and the noise is deemed excessive, a noise control officer and the police may enter the property and:
    • Remove whatever is making the noise
    • Take away working parts.
    • Lock up or seal off the object making the noise or take any other steps needed to reduce the noise
    • If seizure is not possible a notice of Non-Compliance with Direction to Abate Excessive Noise is issued, and prosecution may result. Fines may apply.


Rules about excessive noise


The Council can't help with all noise issues, as not all noise is covered by the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA).


  • Noise must be coming from a separate address to yours.
  • Noise between tenancies with the same landlord is covered by the Residential Tenancies Act 1996.
  • Certain levels of construction noise are allowed during the day.
  • A construction site may also have a resource consent for different noise limits or working times.
  • Noise rules don't apply to unplanned emergency works, such as water mains breaks.
  • We do not monitor noise from moving vehicles (aircraft, boats, trains and cars) 


Are noise complaints confidential?

Yes; the noise maker is not advised as to who has complained. Your details are only required by the council in order for us to monitor ongoing noise problems.