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Community life



What is trespassing?

Trespass Act 1980, ss 2–4

If you own or rent property, you have the right to decide who comes onto it. It’s a criminal offence if a trespasser:

  • refuses to leave your property after you warn them to leave, or
  • returns after you warn them not to return.

For more information about trespass law, see below and see also the chapter “Activism” under “Protests and the general criminal law”.

Warning a trespasser

Trespass Act 1980, s 5

If someone is on your property, you can tell them to leave and to stay off your property.

If someone has trespassed on your property, or if you think it’s likely they will trespass, you can tell them to stay off.

You can deliver the warning verbally or in writing. If you give a written notice, it doesn’t need to say anything special, just that the person isn’t allowed on your property. But because lots of people don’t know that it’s that simple, you might want to use our sample trespass notice below. If you give any notice in writing, you should keep a copy to help show that you have given a warning, in case you need to go to the police later because the trespasser has come back.

You could copy the sample notice below or collect a form from your local police station which has a section you can fill in and return as proof that you served the notice, in case you need to complain again.

Trespass offences and penalties

Trespass Act 1980, ss 3, 4, 11

If someone has been warned to keep off a property, and they don’t leave or they come back within two years of the warning, that’s a criminal offence. The penalty for trespass offences is a fine of up to $1,000 or a prison term of up to three months.

Sample Trespass Notice

    To: [name]

    of: [address]

    Notice under the Trespass Act 1980

    Please take note that in accordance with the above Act I withdraw my consent for you to enter on to my property, [address], for any reason.

    Please note that it is an offence against the Trespass Act 1980 if you ignore this warning and enter on to my property within two years after you have received this warning, unless I cancel this notice at an earlier time. You will be liable to a fine of up to $1,000 or up to three months’ imprisonment.

    Dated this …… day of ……………… 20 …

    Signed …………………………………

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Neighbourhood life

Where to go for more support

General information about neighbourhood issues

Community Law


Your local Community Law Centre can provide initial free legal advice and information.

Citizens Advice Bureau


Phone: 0800 367 222

The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) website provides information on a range of neighbourhood problems. Your local CAB can help you work your way through a problem with your neighbour.

Consumer New Zealand


The “Neighbours and property” section of this website has information covering a range of neighbourhood problems.

Kainga Ora (formerly Housing New Zealand)


The “Neighbours” section of this website has information for neighbours of Kainga Ora properties.

If you have a problem with a Kainga Ora neighbour, you can contact their Customer Services Centre on: 0800 801 601

Neighbourhood Support New Zealand


This website has fact sheets covering a range of neighbourhood problems.

New Zealand Law Society


You can read the NZLS pamphlet “Disputes between your neighbours” online www.lawsociety.org.nz/for-the-public/common-legal-issues

You can access pamphlets online or order hard copies from the New Zealand Law Society.

Phone: (04) 472 7837

Email: pamphlets@lawsociety.org.nz


Department of Internal Affairs


The “Dog control” section of this website has information about the Dog Control Act and about microchipping dogs. www.dia.govt.nz/Resource-material-Dog-Control-Index

SPCA New Zealand


For information on some of the legal responsibilities of pet owners go to: www.spca.nz/what-we-do/seek-justice/animal-welfare-act

Ministry for Primary Industries

For a full guide to the Animal Welfare Act 1999, go to:

Getting help if you’re homeless



Āwhina is a directory of services in Auckland for the homeless, by the homeless.

Women’s refuges


Find your local women’s refuge.

Housing First


Housing First is a group of providers covering all of Auckland.

Services in main centres

Auckland City Mission:

The People’s Project, Hamilton:

Downtown Community Ministry (DCM), Wellington:

Christchurch City Mission:

Dunedin Night Shelter (for men):

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