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Alcohol Free Zones

Alcohol-free zones are areas where you can’t carry* or consume alcohol. They are used to help manage drinking in public places.

Tauranga has a mix of permanent and temporary alcohol-free zones. Permanent alcohol-free zones are signposted and all but one operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the following areas:

  • Tauranga city centre
  • Mount Maunganui, including the main beach but excluding Pilot Bay
  • Memorial Park and the Fourth Avenue extension 
  • Waitaha Reserve, including the Welcome Bay Hall site
  • Arataki Park 
  • the Merivale shops and Surrey Grove Reserve 
  • public places in and around Greerton Village and Brookfield Shopping Centre
  • Topaz Drive Reserve and Gordon Spratt Reserve.

One of the alcohol-free zones operates between 9pm and 7am every day:

  • All beaches, reserves and public places on the seaward side of Papamoa Beach Road, Taylor Road, Motiti Road and Karewa Parade.

During the New Year period (26 December - 5 January) the alcohol-free zones in Mount Maunganui and Papamoa are expanded.  

New Year period alcohol-free zones.

Liquor-free and vehicle-free zones in public places bylaw 2013 (3.8mb pdf)

* Sealed/unopened alcohol can be transported within liquor-free zones.  For example you can purchase alcohol in a liquor-free zone and carry it to your car or house. 


Arataki Park Brookfield Greerton

Arataki Park



Memorial park Merivale Mount Maunganui

Memorial Park


Mount Maunganui

Papamoa Tauranga CBD Waitaha Reserve


Tauranga CBD

Waitaha Reserve

Why are there alcohol-free zones?

A small number of alcohol-free zones were first introduced in Tauranga in 2004 in response to community requests. Since then more zones have been added as and when the need arose.

Members of the community suggest alcohol-free zones to the Council. We investigate the suggestions and consult the public on them. If we find that a alcohol-free zone may help improve behaviour in some areas, we will put one in.

Rights and responsibilities in an alcohol free zone

Under sections 147 of the Local Government Act 2002 the police enforce alcohol free zones.
The only exception applies to alcohol containers that remain unopened in the alcohol free zone:

If the alcohol is legally purchased, then transported through the alcohol ban area (e.g. for consumption at home or at a friend or relative’s residence who lives either in or next to the alcohol ban area).

If an alcohol store (either bottle shop or bar) is carrying out its normal operations (e.g. sales or stock deliveries). 

In both circumstances the container must be sealed and the alcohol must be promptly removed from the alcohol ban area.

Police powers of arrest, search, and seizure

(Sections 169 to 245 of the Local Government Act 2002)

The police may search and seize, without warrant, any container (e.g. bag, case, package, or parcel) a person is carrying in an alcohol ban area as well as any vehicle that is in, or entering, an alcohol ban area.

Police may arrest any person found to be committing an offence, this includes refusing to comply with the police to leave the alcohol ban area or to surrender any alcohol in their possession.

An infringement notice relating to a breach of an alcohol ban may only be served by a Police Constable.

Law changes

Instant fines

From 18 December  2013, breach of an alcohol ban will no longer be prosecuted through the courts. Instead, a police constable may issue an infringement notice (fine).

The fine may be issued:

  • instantly (without arrest); or 
  • following an arrest for breaching the alcohol ban; or  
  • by post, after the breach has occurred.


Last Reviewed: 21/03/2017