Sika stag
Image: Malcolm Lock ©


Help control sika deer and allow mountain beech forests to flourish in the Kaweka Forest Park.

Hunt to help our forests

Effect of sika deer

Rugged and beautiful, the Kaweka range dominates the skyline of western Hawkes Bay. The Kaweka Forest Park encompasses 60,000 ha of this region, providing habitat for a number of native species – including mountain beech. 

In the late 1990s, a study found browsing by sika deer was having a widespread detrimental influence on regeneration and species composition of the mountain beech forest within the Kaweka Forest Park. 

In 1998, the Kaweka Mountain Beech Project began to address the issue and the Kaweka Hunter Liaison Group was developed. The group agreed that aerial deer control supplemented by enhanced recreational hunting would be the control method used to address this issue.  

Control of sika deer

Over the past 18 years, aerial deer control has been carried out over approximately 20,000 ha of the park. Over the 2016/17 summer, no aerial deer control will be carried out. Instead, DOC will work to understand how recreational hunting can maintain deer populations at the level needed for canopy recovery.  

Hunters are encouraged to harvest as many sika deer as possible in order to help the mountain beech canopy regenerate. DOC will carry out monitoring to evaluate whether or not aerial deer control needs to be reintroduced.

How hunters can take part

Check out the resources below, then:

  • plan your hunting trip in an area that shows the need for further deer control. Be safe while hunting – see hunting and firearms safety
  • harvest more animals from areas that have higher deer populations
  • join the discussion at the Kaweka Hunter Liaison Group – contact the project coordinator below.

For more information, contact: 

Kaweka Mountain Beech Project coordinator
Hawke’s Bay District Office 
Phone: +64 6 834 3111

Deer density maps

Deer density (faecal pallet index monitoring) in Kaweka Forest Park:

Helicopter operators

East Kaweka Helicopters
Phone: +64 6 839 8693

Phone: +64 7 384 2816
Website: Helisika

Lakeland Aviation
Phone: +64 7 378 0085

Hill Country Helicopters
Phone: +64 6 388 0084
Mobile: +64 27 223 0298

Helicopters Hawkes Bay
Phone: +64 6 879 9242
Mobile:+64 21 673 426

Hut use

A notification system is in place to help helicopter operators and their customers plan use of huts in Kaweka Forest Park. See notifications of hut use (username: pub, password: public)


  • Notifications are made by helicopter operators on behalf of their customers.
  • Notification doesn’t guarantee a bunk or exclusive use of the hut. Hut use is still first come, first served – go prepared to camp in case the hut is full.
  • In the peak period of April–May, there is a maximum stay of 7 nights in any one location – notifications of longer stays will be cancelled.
  • Notifications can be made up to 18 months before the first day of use.
  • Notification is not a record of trip intentions – tell someone your plans and leave a date to raise the alarm if you haven’t returned. Also record your stay in the hut log book.


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