Midweek vehicle access to the Blue Mountains Recreational Hunting Area near Tapanui has reopened for approved recreational hunters.

Date:  14 June 2023

DOC, New Zealand Deerstalkers Association (NZDA) and forestry company Ernslaw One have been working to find a suitable solution to enable midweek vehicle access for hunters, while addressing alleged issues of poor behaviour, poaching and damage to forestry equipment.

DOC Operations Manager John McCarroll says it was great to reach a potential solution, and he appreciated everyone’s patience.

“Hunters who wish to access the site by vehicle via forestry land administered by Ernslaw One are required to obtain approved hunter status through the NZDA. This involves demonstrating a sound knowledge of the firearm safety requirements, an understanding of the behaviours required when accessing the hunting area through the private forestry land, and an understanding of the consequences of breaching the rules.”

Previously, midweek vehicle access was closed to recreational hunters for the past several years. This was in response to safety concerns, vandalism to forestry company property and poaching by a small number of recreational hunters.

Now, access is reopening, to hunters that have completed the necessary approvals.

If approval is given, hunters will still need to apply to DOC for the monthly ballot to secure a permit.

John McCarroll urges all hunters to first get their approved hunter status from NZDA before applying for a permit from DOC or risk forfeiting any incurred costs.

If any hunter breaches the terms of the approved hunter status they may be prohibited from obtaining future hunting permits for the area.  Serious breaches will be investigated, and appropriate enforcement action taken.

Hunters can obtain approved status by applying to the NZDA at  

The gate codes can only be obtained from the NZDA and attempts to contact Ernslaw One staff directly to try and obtain the codes will be unsuccessful.

Background information 

The Blue Mountains Recreational Hunting Area (RHA) is located to the east of Tapanui Township.  It is made up of a number of hunting blocks and is administered by the Department of Conservation (DOC). The easiest access to the majority of blocks is by vehicle via a network of Public Access Easements (PAEs) that dissect forestry land, administered by Ernslaw One Ltd.

Recreational hunters apply to DOC to go into a monthly ballot system to secure one of these hunting blocks.  Permits may also be issued outside of the ballot if a particular block is available at that time.


For media enquiries contact:


Back to top