Learn about the completed national WARO permit and land schedule decisions process.

January 2024 update

2023 national WARO permits approved

2023 North and South Island national WARO permit templates have now been approved along with 39 applications for new permits. These are spread across the country, but most are in the South Island.

Key improvements to permit conditions are:

WARO operators are required to send the Department information about their recovery operations. This will provide greater visibility of wild animal removal and compliance, better understand of the biodiversity benefits and inform future conservation management decisions.

  • Information collected includes where operators have flown, where they have shot or captured animals, how many, and of what species and sex.
  • Reporting of unattributable, summarised information on numbers and trends will be publicly available.

The Department can temporarily change WARO access status in an area should it consider necessary for conservation management purposes.

A 5-year term to encourage increased investment in wild animal management while still enabling the Department to respond to changing demands in a reasonable timeframe.

Clarity that thermal imaging and similar equipment can be used by operators during the hours of daylight for easier locating of wild animals.

Wild animal carcass waste is not to be left within 50 metres of a public recreational facility or water body; and

2023 land schedule maps will be made available electronically for use in helicopters which will help pilots stay within WARO accessible areas.

Report on permit decisions (PDF, 2,179)

Reviewing recreational hunting maps

DOC is reviewing recreational hunting maps to see what new land or currently prohibited areas can become “Permitted”. Also, for recreational users, the use of thermal optics is currently prohibited on public conservation land. DOC is currently reviewing permit conditions, and the use of thermal optics is included in this.

The review process will involve seeking feedback from the Firearms Safety Authority, the Game Animal Council, and New Zealand Deerstalkers Association. We will provide an update on the status of thermal optic use for recreational hunters after the review process.  

Optimising hunting as wild animal control tools

DOC is looking at how to optimise commercial and recreational hunting, alongside Crown agency control operations, as tools to effectively control populations of wild animals, like deer. As part of this work, an independent systems analysis of WARO has been commissioned to define problems that might merit work on future improvements.

This is not a review of WARO. Its purpose is to provide an up-to-date analysis of views and data around WARO to provide a comprehensive understanding of issues and identify opportunities to build its contribution to wild animal management throughout New Zealand. The final report is due to be released before the end of March 2024.

Back to top