Kaimanawa wild horse muster
Image: Kimber Brown, Kaimanawa Heritage Horses Welfare Society | ©

Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


Due to the efforts of the two horse rehoming groups, DOC has made the decision to go ahead with the planned muster of up to 80 Kaimanawa horses.

Date:  02 April 2019

Another 20 – 30 homes are still required to meet this year’s desired target. With progress to date, the re-homing groups are confident that all places for horses required will be filled.

All mustered horses that are fit for travel on a truck will be re-homed, but any horses deemed medically unfit by a vet will be euthanised under vet supervision.

DOC would like to acknowledge the continued commitment and effort of the two re-homing groups Kaimanawa Heritage Horses (KHH) and Kaimanawa Wild Horse Preservation Society (KWHPS) in finding suitable homes for these horses.

The muster is now held on an annual basis. This allows DOC to manage the herd at the sustainable level of 300 horses within the Waiouru Military Training Area (WMTA), as recommended by the Kaimanawa Wild Horse Advisory Group (KWHAG).

This number allows for the horses in the herd to maintain best condition and protects the fragile ecosystems, unique to the Moawhango Ecological Zone.

The unique tussock grassland where the horses roam contains threatened plants, including at least 16 species in the New Zealand Threat Classification System, some of which are found nowhere else in the world.

Many of these plants occur in habitats that can sustain very little disturbance from horses.

For horse re-homing enquiries contact

Kaimanawa Heritage Horses

Kimber Brown
Phone: +64 27 450 9047
Email: kimber@kaimanawaheritagehorses.org

Michele Haultain
Phone: +64 27 431 8082
Email: michele.haultain@kaimanawaheritagehorses.org 

Kaimanawa Wild Horse Preservation Society

Sharyn Boness
Phone: +64 27 457 2040
Email: kaimanawawhps@gmail.com

Katherine Meredith
Phone: +64 27 258 8492
Email: kaimanawawhps@gmail.com 

Background information

The Kaimanawa Horse Management Plan has three core objectives:

  • to ensure the welfare of the horses is dealt with appropriately,
  • to promote the sustainability of the natural features and ecosystems of the Moawhango Ecological District, with respect to Kaimanawa wild horse impacts,
  • to manage the Kaimanawa wild horse herd at a sustainable level.

KWHAG provides advice to DOC on implementing the management plan. It consists of representatives from New Zealand Defence Force, DOC, KHH, KWHPS, NgatiRangi, RNZSPCA, Forest & Bird, New Zealand Veterinary Association and adjoining landowners.

KHH is a charitable society run by a volunteer group of passionate horse people; dedicated to the care and welfare of Kaimanawa horses both domestically and in the wild. KHH are advocates for the horses and work closely with DOC and other interested groups on the welfare and future of the Kaimanawa horses in the wild.

Prior to each muster the group search for suitable homes and complete home-checks to place as many horses as possible. KHH actively support our members and their domestic Kaimanawa horses through our welfare team, area reps, magazine, education and training, annual shows and Ribbon Days. Member generosity through membership and donations, is the group’s primary funding source.

KWHPS was formed in April 1994 to promote the preservation and protection of the Kaimanawa wild horses both in the wild and domesticity.

Our vision is to create public awareness to the plight of the Wild Kaimanawa Horse Herd and to promote the versatility of the horses being brought into captivity. KWHPS actively support all members, Kaimanawa owners and prospective owners through our dedicated committee.

KWHPS currently sponsor Kaimanawa rings at two National Breed shows, ring sponsorship at six other National A&P shows and Rider sponsorship. KHWPS primary funding source is through membership and donations.


Dave Lumley
DOC Operations Manager Central Plateau
Email: dlumley@doc.govt.nz 

Back to top