A judge reviewing a competition entry
Image: DOC

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


Hunters and their supporters from around the North Island converged on DOC’s Pureora field base at the weekend for the culmination of the annual Pureora Hunting Competition, which was dominated by one local hunter.

Date:  03 May 2023

Cancelled for the last three years due to COVID-19, the popular hunting competition returned for 2023 and ran throughout April. It has run for more than three decades.

Hunters competed for prizes across five senior and one junior categories. Two new categories were introduced this year – the Heaviest Deer and Average Weight Pig.

Kina Tweeddale, DOC’s Maniapoto Biodiversity Supervisor, says approximately 75 people attended the prizegiving on Sunday 30 April, with a small but committed group of 24 hunters entering animals for Douglas Scoring judging and animal weight categories.

Local hunter Brett Kearins won several categories in the competition (Best Douglas Deer, Heaviest Deer, and Average Pig Weight). Several members of Brett Kearins’ wider family participated in the event.

Brett’s advice to aspiring young hunters was, “Just get out there and do it!”

He emphasised the value of spending time in the forest observing the animals and learning what they do.

Te Kuiti Pig Hunting Club spokesman and veteran hunter Steve McFall – who is also involved with NZ Game Animal Council and NZ Pig Hunting Association – helped judge this year’s competition and was impressed by the quality of animals presented.

“They’re beautiful well-conditioned pigs, as you’d expect. It’s early days [for pig categories] and it can only get better.”

Mark Sarjeant, a Hamilton-based NZDA member and Douglas Scoring judge, urged younger hunters to “give something back to the sport” by learning to score and judge competitions.

“We need some of the 30- and 40-year-old guys coming through.”

As well as competition and spot prizes, Sunday’s prizegiving included Kiwi Aversion Training for dogs (and their owners) who head into the bush to hunt.

“Dogs are a threat to native birds, particularly kiwi, so it was encouraging to see 17 owners bring their animals along to undertake the Kiwi Aversion Training offered,” Kina Tweeddale says.

There is no charge to enter the Pureora Hunting Competition which sets it apart from most hunting competitions.

“After three years with no competition we’re in a rebuild stage for this event,” Kina Tweeddale says.

“We were encouraged by the number of junior hunters who competed, as well as the solid showing of family supporters."

“We’re particularly grateful to the Sika Foundation, Te Kuiti Pig Hunting Club and NZ Deerstalkers Association. We’d urge the central North Island hunting community to diary April as ‘Pureora Hunting Competition’ and plan to participate.”

Pureora Hunting Competition winners

  • Best Douglas Deer – Brett Kearins (276 5/8 points)
  • Heaviest Deer – Brett Kearins (70.2 kg)
  • Ugliest Deer Head – Alex Rye
  • Heaviest Pig – Kurt Davison (62.2kg)
  • Average Weight Pig – Brett Kearins (56.5kg)
  • Youth: Heaviest Possum – Macie Kearins (3.8kg)
  • Senior Roar – Richard Yanko
  • Junior Roar – Te Rangiaio Singh-King


For media enquiries contact:

Email: media@doc.govt.nz

Back to top