Aviation authorities are writing new rules on drones prompted by fears about safety in the skies, and privacy concerns.
Drones are currently governed by the same rules as toy helicopters but are already causing headaches.
In one case, a man flew his quadcopter in the flight path of Wellington Airport, and another used a drone to film a Chiefs and Hurricanes game at Waikato Stadium.
"A lot of these people aren't traditional aviation users so they've got no idea of civil aviation rules," said CAA spokesman Steve Moore.
The authority has Cabinet approval to draft new rules after it was revealed it knew of only about one in 10 unmanned flights.
It is working with the small supplier industry to draft a set of rules that could bring in a licensing regime.
"If it warrants it, then infringement notices and prosecutions would be looked at," Moore said.
Drones come in many shapes and sizes, including aeroplanes and multi-rotor "helicopters".
The CAA has appraised about 45 drone operators to ensure they are safe, but admits it does not know how many of the aircraft are in the country's skies.
Victoria University of Wellington lecturer Dr Kathleen Kuehn, who specialises in surveillance technology, said drones raised many privacy concerns.
The distance between the drone and its pilot meant people could feel empowered to be more brazen with privacy breaches.
"There's something about the lack of people being physically present and invading privacy from afar that somehow dehumanises the process," Kuehn said.
"I imagine there's some kind of disconnect with what you're doing."
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner said it had received no complaints relating to drones.
In the US, New York partygoer Stephen Kosloff was reportedly left bloodied after being hit in the head by a drone with technical problems.
In Australia, a drone was used in an attempt to smuggle drugs and a mobile phone into a maximum-security Melbourne prison.
Meanwhile, online store Amazon proposes delivering parcels to customers by drone and hopes to have a service operating in US cities next year.