Hunters Lend Hand to Kaimanawa Conservation Projects

Press release from 

Todd McClay, Minister Hunting and Fishing

A hunter-led conservation project has removed hundreds of deer from a remote part of the Kaimanawa Forest Park, helping improve the forest’s health, Hunting and Fishing Minister Todd McClay says.

“An innovative hunter-led project has seen 776 deer removed from the Kaimanawa Remote Experience Zone (REZ) since 2022, thanks to the Sika Foundation project.

 “The project received some funding from the Government’s Jobs for Nature programme and DOC’s Wild Animal Management Programme.

 “The remoteness of the REZ limits opportunity for hunters to walk in, which means we do not see much recreational deer harvest in this part of the forest.

“Managing deer numbers can help improve forest health and resilience to climate change and reduce pressure on native ecosystems.

 “A thriving natural environment and fewer high-quality animals creates a better hunting experience.

 “While successfully lowering deer numbers, the project also set up vegetation and deer density monitoring, which will be remeasured in 2025 to track the response in the habitat from management efforts. 

 “New and innovative management tools – such as thermal assisted aerial hunting, thermal drone assisted ground hunting, and app-based data collection and mapping tools to track the herd response to hunting – are all showing huge value for future management in Kaimanawa Forest Park and other sites. 

 As well as the deer management project, the Sika Foundation has a range of other conservation projects underway, including managing a trapping network to protect whio (blue ducks) and carrying out hut maintenance. 


Todd McClay – “fewer high-quality animals creates a better hunting experience
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2 Responses to Hunters Lend Hand to Kaimanawa Conservation Projects

  1. Ben Hope says:

    Good to see management of numbers rather than DoC’s usual eradication culture. However I remain to be convinced that deer are the cause of “poor forest health”. The Kaimanawas have a centuries old history of events over centuries such as Taupo eruption (tremendous “damage”)and cyclic climate extremes (cyclonic storms) as identified by Dr Patrick Grant’s research in the Ruahines. Basically the Kawekas and Kaimanawas are a physical extension of the Ruahines. Dr Grant’s work found wild animals had little impact on forest health – climate change wrought any forest “damage.”

  2. Paul says:

    This is good news for hunters, showing the public the responsible conservation side of them. Similar to the Fiordland Wapiti Foundation’s efforts in the Wapiti area since the early 2000’s in controlling deer numbers & predators of our birdlife. The ongoing trapping has seen Whio numbers bounce back well over time but there are obviously differences from year to year.
    We just need more publicity to get the word out.

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