Find out about hunting in Molesworth.

Molesworth roar 2024

There is a separate application process for hunting during the Molesworth roar period: 6 March to 9 April 2024.

Information about the Molesworth roar

Apply for Molesworth hunting permits online

Check the hunting availability calendars and apply online

Permits take at least 15 working days to process. Due to the high demand in applications our office is working through the backlog and apologise in advance, your patience is appreciated.

Permit information

Permits for hunting deer, chamois, goats and pigs will only be issued for a specific period and for a specified area.

  • Blocks can be booked up to 6 months in advance to the month, not the date. For example on any date in January you may apply for any date in July as July is 6 months after January.
  • Blocks can be booked for 7 days beginning on a Wednesday and ending on a Tuesday. You may choose to hunt only a portion of this period.
  • The booking system is first in first served.
  • Only one block per hunting party at one time and no consecutive weeks can be booked.
  • Maximum 8 people on each permit (6 Hunters/Non-Hunters with the addition of 2 Non-Hunters only). 
  • You may only book a block once per month and no more than three times in a 6 month period (1 January – 30 June, and 1 July – 31 December), whether you are a hunter or non-hunter. Permits issued during the roar are not counted in this limit.

Different areas are available at different times of the year, depending on farm requirements and stock locations.

Landcorp and the Molesworth Recreational Reserve Manager do not issue hunting permits.

Any breaches of permit conditions are treated very seriously – past breaches have resulted in offenders being trespassed from Molesworth and prosecuted.

More permit conditions.

Watch out for trampers, mountain bikers and other hunters

Areas may be used by other trampers, mountain bikers or other hunters accessing their block at any time. Wilding pine control by helicopter may be carried out at any time. Weed control staff will be informed of any hunters in the areas they are working.

General information

Molesworth Recreational Reserve has the largest farm in New Zealand. It is administered by DOC and leased to Landcorp Farming Ltd.

Red deer, chamois, goats, pigs, and Canada geese are found here.

Chukar hunting

Chukar hunting will take place from July 2024. 

Contact Nelson Marlborough Fish and Game for a permit:
Jacob Lucas
Phone: +64 3 544 6382

These blocks are exclusive for chukar hunting only and do not allow you to hunt big game during this time:

  • Mt Severn
  • Boundary
  • Turks
  • Upper Wairau
  • Cat Creek
  • Travellers
  • Alma
  • Dog Stream
  • Long Gully
  • Makuratawhai

Goose hunts

Canada goose hunt weekends are held each year.

  • 3 to 6 March 2022
  • 9 to 12 June 2022
  • 13 to 16 October 2022.

To participate, contact:

Mike Gane

No large game hunting permits will be issued during Canada goose hunt weekends. A goose hunting permit:

  • allows you to hunt Canada goose only, and
  • does not allow you to hunt big game.


Vehicle access is limited to the main formed roads Acheron Road and Tophouse/Wairau Hanmer Springs Road, also known as Rainbow Road, only and only when the roads are open. No vehicles are to be driven on any farm tracks.

Helicopters are not permitted at all.

There are three main road access points.

Via Jacks Pass Road from Hanmer Springs

This road is open all year round, weather conditions permitting. This gives access to the southern end of the Molesworth, and north through to Lake Sedgemere. The road can be impassable because of snow during the winter months.

Rainbow Road

Rainbow Road goes through Rainbow Station and Molesworth Recreation Reserve, from near St Arnaud (turn off SH63) to Hanmer. This is a 4WD toll road with access restrictions. For details, see the Rainbow Station website.

Molesworth Acheron Road

This links the Acheron to the top of the Awatere Valley Road.

Road open from:

  • Labour Weekend Saturday to Easter Monday, or
  • second Sunday in April – whichever is the latest.

See if the road is closed.

Outside of these dates, you must apply for an activity permit.

You also may need an activity permit for road access for other activities such as mountain biking or walking.

A hunting permit does not guarantee road access

A hunting permit does not guarantee road access when the Acheron Road is closed.

An activity permit for driving access to your hunting block will not be issued when the road is closed due to winter weather and farming operations except in exceptional circumstances.

Other access

  • Limited access to Eastern Zone across Clarence River.
  • Tramping over Severn Saddle from the top of the Leatham Valley into the Northern Zone (Severn Valley).


Travel down the Clarence sometimes to hunt the Eastern Zone.

You can hunt the Eastern Zone five non-exclusive riverside blocks under one permit if the blocks are open:

  • Bullen
  • Clarence Faces
  • Tweed
  • Elliot
  • Lizard

However, during the roar these become single blocks with exclusive access.


NZTopo50 maps: BS24, BS25, BT24, BT25, BT26.

A map of the boundaries of each block is available below.

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