Hunting for upland game birds and for waterfowl takes place all over New Zealand.
Every person who wants to go game bird hunting in New Zealand must first buy a licence.
For licence types and fees available, please visit our Hunting Licence Information page.
The licence fees are primarily charged to cover the cost of managing the fish and birds and the habitat they depend on. The provision of services to anglers and hunters and advocating their interests is also included in the licence fee.
Fish & Game NZ provides regulations for game bird hunting throughout New Zealand. These regulations are amended each year to suit changing sporting and environmental conditions.
Each region has its own set of regulations working in conjunction with the national regulations. Please be aware of and abide by local regulations at all times - they are designed to ensure the sustainability of game bird hunting and fishing, and the wonderful natural resource that is the New Zealand environment.
To view the game bird hunting 'rules and regs' for a particular region, go to the region you are interested in, then click on the 'Regulations' link under Hunting (in the right hand column of the page). Alternatively you can download the current Hunting Regulations for both North Island and South Island on our Hunting Regulations page.
NZ Game Bird Species
Ducks, geese, pheasant, quail and partridge are some of the species which can be hunted in New Zealand, when in season and according to national and regional regulations.
For more information on species which may be hunted versus those which are protected, along with habitat and behaviour information for New Zealand's most common game bird species, please click on the following link: New Zealand Game Bird Species.
Non-Toxic Shot Regulations
Rules For non-toxic game bird hunting
In New Zealand it is compulsory to use non-toxic shot when hunting waterfowl with a 10 or 12 gauge shotgun for all areas including private land, in or near (within 200m) of a water body and wetlands.
For most hunters this means using steel shot, although others such as bismuth and tungsten alloys are available. Use of lead shot is restricted here, like many parts of the world, because it has been shown to poison ducks that accidentally eat it as grit.
For more information, please read our Non-Toxic Shot (Steelshot) Regulations page.
Where To Hunt
One of the most commonly asked questions from hunting enthusiasts visiting New Zealand is 'Where's the best place to hunt game birds in NZ?' This is a difficult question to answer and of course depends on what you're looking for.
Each region of New Zealand has something different to offer the game bird hunter. Use the clickable map at the top right of every page to visit the 12 Fish & Game regions and learn about local hunting information, regulations and access for each. Also, each regional Fish & Game office, as well as most hunting stores, have a good range of maps and access brochures.
For general advice on where to hunt, please see our Where To Hunt page.
Firearms in NZ
Visit the New Zealand Police website for information on NZ firearms licences, safety and bringing firearms into the country.
A copy of the Arms Code can be found here.
For information about bringing firearms into New Zealand click here.
You can find FAQs about firearms in New Zealand here.