Introduction

Find out about hunting in New Zealand.

This information will be useful for overseas visitors coming to New Zealand to hunt.

Hunting on public conservation land

All species of game animals in New Zealand can be found on public conservation land, which generally gives free access to all users such as hunters and trampers. Public conservation land is administered by the Department of Conservation (DOC).

If you hunt on public conservation land you must get a hunting permit from DOC. You can apply online or at a DOC office nearest the hunting area.

Learn about some of the permit conditions that must be adhered to when hunting.

See what to hunt and where to hunt.

Hunting on private property

To hunt on private property you must get the permission of the landowner. Permission is also needed to cross private property to get to public conservation land if there is no formal access.

Many properties are set up as 'safari parks' where game animals can be hunted for a fee.

Planning a hunting trip to New Zealand

Game animals

All game animals in New Zealand are introduced species and are found in:

  • North and South Islands: red deer, fallow deer, pigs, goats, wild sheep
  • North Island only: sika deer, rusa deer, sambar deer
  • South Island only: whitetail deer, wapiti, tahr, chamois
  • Stewart Island: whitetail deer, red deer
  • Chatham Islands (primarily private property): wild sheep, pigs, wild cattle.

Guided hunting

If you are considering a guided hunting trip in New Zealand, contact the New Zealand Professional Hunting Guides Association.

Firearms

If you intend to bring a firearm into New Zealand or to use one in New Zealand there are disclosure and licence requirements. If you possess or use a firearm (except under the immediate supervision of a licence holder) you need to have a firearms licence.

Contact New Zealand Police for information and to apply for a firearms licence.

Hunting areas

The more you can learn about the intended hunting area the better your chances of success are.

Contact the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association to get local hunting information. 

The DOC office nearest your hunting area will also be a good source of information.

Backcountry safety

Hunting in New Zealand often involves difficult terrain away from tracked areas and extremely changeable weather.

The New Zealand Mountain Safety Council provides important information on backcountry safety.

See plan and prepare for more safety information.

Staying in huts

DOC manages an extensive network of huts and tracks throughout New Zealand, which hunters often use as accommodation. 

See backcountry hut information if you are intending to use a hut.

DOC hunting brochure

Download Hunting in Conservation Areas brochure (PDF, 1,767K) for useful information on a wide range of hunting topics.

Prevent the spread of pests and diseases

Help protect New Zealand from the spread of unwanted pests and iseases.

Didymo is an exotic alga that invades waterways. It is present in many South Island rivers but has not been recorded in the North Island. To prevent the spread of didymo, observe the following measures Check, Clean, Dry between waterways and stop the spread of didymo.

Kauri dieback: When hunting in Northland/Wakato/Hauraki undertake measures to prevent the spread of kauri dieback (PTA).

Leaving New Zealand

Trophies

There is no fee for exporting trophies obtained in New Zealand although this may change with the recent formation of the Game Animal Council, which has the task of managing game animals in New Zealand. Any fee imposed will contribute to game management and the level of fee has yet to be decided.

Certificates of export

Certificates of Export are documents issued by DOC that provide assurance that the species of animal hunted are not protected under New Zealand legislation.

These documents are not required for export from New Zealand. However, many importing countries ask for documentation to provide this assurance.

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