A 23-year-old New Zealand woman has spotted a camera drone spying on her while she sunbathed in her fenced-off backyard.

Morgaine Halligan was enjoying the sun in her backyard in Mt Wellington when she noticed a drone flying above her and her mother. The drone was reportedly watching them for around 30 minutes. According to the New Zealand Herald, the drone appeared at around 7.30pm.

"I was changing in a fenced-off backyard; when I finished I looked up and saw a drone," Halligan told the publication. "My mum was in her bikini in our private area also. It hovered above us for another 15 minutes. It is just creepy as you don't know what the purpose may be.

"We are worried now. When I come around to my mum's house we spend a lot of time outside, and now we don't know if a drone will be there. It kept going low into peoples' properties, creeping down driveways."

Residents of the neighbourhood called the police and were told to contact the Civil Aviation Authority. CAA rules restrict drone pilots from flying close to homes unless they have permission.

"It is a private area - there should be repercussions," Halligan said. "They can't just go in and film in people's backyards. I don't want myself filmed getting changed in the backyard. It is not right."

Some people were concerned the drone was inspecting properties to see which ones were worth robbing. "There had recently been break-ins in the area, so neighbours were afraid people were trying to check out houses."

Police are encouraging people to call the CAA for drone complaints. "If the drone operation causes a safety risk to persons, property or other aircraft - potentially breaching the rules - police will respond and take all the details for forwarding to the CAA.

"If a drone is used in the commission of a criminal act, police may consider charging operator with an appropriate criminal offence."