READ MORE: * Marlborough vineyards scare birds with drones * Tourist's drone shuts Blenheim's runway for 15 minutes * Drone complaints soar as flying machines get cheaper, more popular Without a permit, drones could fly no closer than 150 metres of a marine mammal.
The Department of Conservation has granted the permit to Marlborough company GCH UAV, allowing them to fly drones to within 20 metres of whales, dolphins and seals.
The first South Island permit to use a drone to film marine mammals up close has been granted.
Colin Aitchison, of GCH UAV, can shoot footage of humpback whales from his drone after obtaining a permit from the Department of Conservation.
Do not fly closer than 150 metres from a marine mammal - Do not disturb or harass any marine mammal with your drone; e.g. don't chase, herd or scatter them - Do not make any sudden or repeated change in speed or direction - Do not make any loud or disturbing noises near marine mammals - Abandon contact at the first sign of any marine mammal being disturbed