Step 1: You

Apply early for summer special licence

If you're planning to hold an event this summer that requires a special licence, make sure you plan ahead and apply as soon as possible.

If your event is planned any time from 20 December 2023 through to mid-February 2024, our Christmas closure dates could affect your event.

In the past some have left it too late to apply for a special licence, under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act, all applications must be made at least 20 working days prior to the event taking place. This excludes weekends, public holidays and the period between 20 December and 15 January.

To avoid disappointment please ensure you lodge and pay for your application no later than 21 November 2023.

Supplying alcohol at an event

If you want to sell alcohol to the public at a one-off event or series of events, you need a special licence. The alcohol may be in the entry fee, ticket price, or sold over a bar.
Even if the event occurs on licensed premises, you might still need a special licence for this event as it may not be covered by your existing on-licence or club licence.

Events that may require a special licence include a:

  • sports event
  • concert, show or festival
  • street party
  • private function.

Please note applications must be lodged at least 20 working days before the event otherwise they will not be accepted. For large events, applications must be lodged at least 30 working days before the event.

Supporting documents you need to provide with your application:

  • Copies of each Manager's Certificate for those managing the event (if applicable).
  • If the applicant is NOT the premises owner then a written statement from the owner of the building/property giving consent to the applicant for alcohol to be sold or supplied on the premises (Note that the written consent must be for the same party as detailed in the applicant section of this form).
  • Detailed A4 scale (with measurements) site plan of the premises/site showing
    • Those areas that are to be used for the sale or supply of alcohol.
    • Those areas (if any) that are to be designated as restricted or supervised areas.
    • The principal entrance.
    • Location of all food outlets and other relevant activities.
  • A complete list of food and non/low alcoholic beverages provided (menu).
  • Proof establishing the event(s) as genuine, special or particular occasion(s). Such as a program of activities / copy of ticket for public events / invitation for private events / promotional material etc.
  • If a large event - an alcohol management plan.

If you are applying for the Special Licence on behalf of someone else:

  • A copy of the authority to act as an agent of the applicant, signed by the applicant.

Taking over a licensed business

If you're buying an established business that sells alcohol, you need temporary authority to continue selling alcohol while you apply for a new on-licence or off-licence.

This is valid for a maximum period of three months and will only be issued if the existing licence for the premises is still valid.​ 

Supporting documents you need to provide with your application:

  • Application fee (this is an application fee and is non-refundable after the application is received).
  • Proof of title to the business - sale and purchase agreement or lease (financial details can be excluded).
  • A current floor plan of the premises.
  • A draft of your proposed host responsibility policy.
  • Copies of each current manager's certificate for those nominated to manage the premises.
  • Copies of any other licences held by the applicant (if applicable).

If you are applying for the temporary authority on behalf of someone else, you must also provide:

  • A copy of the authority to act as an agent of the applicant, signed by the applicant.

Extract of record or register

You can apply for an extract of your record or register.

Fees you might encounter

Application for Special Licences
Risk Factor Band:
Class 3 $63.25
Class 2 $207.00
Class 1 $575.00
Application for Temporary Authority
Application Fee $296.70
Extract of record or register
Application Fee $57.50

How to pay

You can pay by cash or credit card at our customer service centre when you submit your application in person.

Step 2: You

Apply for a special licence online

Please download or complete the appropriate form and return your application form and supporting documents:

In person

Hamilton City Council
260 Anglesea Street

By post

Hamilton City Council
Private Bag 3010
Hamilton 3240

By email


Max file size: 5 MB; Allowed extensions: pdf,doc,docx

Step 3: Council

Applications can take up to 30 working days to process, or longer if further information is required from the applicant or a public hearing is required. To ensure a smooth and swift processing time, it is important that the information supplied with your application is complete and accurate.

Incomplete applications will be returned to the applicant.

Once received, your application is checked to ensure that the details you have supplied are in line with the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012. The criteria for the issue of a special licence is set out in section 142 of the Act. In addition to The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act, a licence must also comply with any other act or policy that Council deems relevant, such as the Building C​​​ode​ of Complian​ceResource Management Act or Food Hygiene Regulations 1974. For more details on relevant acts and policies, see the NZ Legislation website​.

A copy of the application is sent to the Police, the Medical Officer of Health and Licensing Inspector, for their report. The applicant will receive copies of these reports as well as any objections received.

Share this page


Has this page been helpful?
Thanks for your feedback.

Last updated 12 October 2023