Busking in New Zealand, North Island

APRIL 2015

After months in South Australia and Victoria, busking in New Zealand meant a new country was going to be added to our list! It’s strange how some countries can be completely different to play music in. It also means getting used to a whole new set of rules and regulations.

We flew to Auckland from Melbourne airport. This was the first time we had flown with the AER busking amp. Thankfully, we managed to just about cram it into a suitcase. Airport security was easier than we had expected. We had had some concerns because of the car battery that was inside the busking amplifier, but there were no issues at all!



We arrived in Auckland at 11.30pm. Some travellers might be tempted to save on accommodation and sleep in the airport and so were we. After going through the experience, honestly I probably wouldn’t recommend it. That’s unless you can find a quiet spot with no lights or people to bother you. Also there’s the worry that someone might steal your bags and I think we got about 20 minutes sleep that night.

Once our stuff was deposited in the Nomads youth hostel the first thing we did was set out for a busk. We flew through the CDs we had left before getting no sleep caught us up. Instead of ordering in CDs, we took a trip to Typo for inspiration and string and decided to make our own. If you’re a musician and considering making your own CDs, it is such a good way to save money on ordering CDs. As long as you can make them look attractive, lots of people love the handmade feel. We were initially worried this rustic look might affect our sales but it turns out it almost had the opposite effect! It is also ideal if you have no fixed address to order CDs in bulk to, or limited luggage space while you travel.

Handmade CDs are the way forward!


Auckland has a set of busking rules in place and a permit is needed. We found this out from two busking licence people, who produced a licence for us there on the spot, so we could continue busking. They even stopped to watch for a while! Why can’t it be so easy everywhere else? Feeling the Street when in Auckland when we were there as well. They took a quick video of a busking song to enter into that year’s worldwide competition to promote buskers.


Out of Auckland, the next few days were devoted to exploration on the North Island with a friend. Some of the sites we’d definitely recommend seeing include surfing on Raglan beach, Hamilton’s botanical gardens and climbing Mt Maunganui on the east coast.


Rotorua was the only place we’ve ever busked that smelt of egg. We were playing an outdoor gig for the Rogue Stage here but also attempted a busk in the rain. It wasn’t until after we were told busking wasn’t actually allowed. Fortunately as it was raining so no one was checking. No one was walking past at all though. The gig was good and had a very relaxed audience sitting on the floor.



Wellington also needs a permit to busk. They are free and can be picked up at the council office. Whenever we get a permit, it never gets checked by any officials and neither was this one. Wellington was the only place we’ve ever tried to busk in torrential rain. For some reason it didn’t seem to have much of an effect. Perhaps we were cheering up the spirits of the people of Wellington, or perhaps the sound of the rain was masking our sound from annoying the office blocks above. Either way the busking went better than expected.

It turned out when the rain cleared on the last day that this theory was actually true! A security street guy appeared out of nowhere to tell us  we were being too loud.


One issue in New Zealand was that we had no bank account, like we had had in Australia. To deal with the amount of coin we had, we took frequent trips to the bank. The only thing we could do was to swap the tiny coins into more manageable notes. A universal world bank account would be one of the best things ever from a busker’s perspective!

From Wellington we were heading to the South Island and flying into Christchurch where we were due to pick up our CAMPERVAN (!!!) which was quite exciting. The flight we chose was at a crazy hour in the morning, but we earned free $8 Subway credit there because the plane was delayed due to the luggage car breaking down behind the Jetstar plane. Great start to a new adventure!