Where to Hunt Game Birds
This page has game bird hunting locations and access information for spots across the Eastern Region.
You can download hunting access maps and pamphlets using the links below, or pick up a copy by visiting your local hunting shop or the Eastern Fish & Game Office.
Please click here for the 2023 hunter ballot draw for stands in the reserves.
Please click here to see which stands you have won in the Eastern Region 2023 hunting stand ballot. A number of stands have still not been allocated, if you would like one of these they will be allocated on a first come first serve basis. Note the website may not be up to date so the stand may have already been allocated.
Please click here to download a ballot application form. Note applications are due by 4 November 2022
Balloted Wetlands Gate Restrictions 2023 Hunting Season
**Hunters entering the below and other Fish & Game managed wetlands require both a game bird hunting licence and a hunting permit issued by Fish & Game/ DOC. Ballot holders have exclusive use of their stand for opening weekend, and the following week concluding Sunday 14th May. Thereafter any permitted hunter may access the wetland to hunt. Access is via vehicle (where authorised), quad / mule, or by walking. All game bird hunting in balloted wetlands ceases 6.15pm Monday 5th June 2023.
Awaiti - the main gate and the wetland eastern access gate on Turners (previously Looney’s) driveway beside Greig Road will be unlocked from 7.00am Thursday 4th May – these two gate will be relocked at the conclusion of the exclusive ballot holder period from 7.00pm Sunday 14th May. Quad / mule gate will be open for mallard season. The main gate only will be unlocked for the last weekend of the mallard season, plus two extra days for the recovery of gear – open from 7.00am Friday 2nd June and closed 7.00pm Wednesday 7th June. The western wetland access gate on Turners (previously Looney’s) driveway down beside the cowshed will be locked at all times.
Awakaponga - gate locked all season, walking access only
Kaituna - the two main car park gates and the western access gate will be unlocked from 7.00am Thursday 4th May – the two main gates and western access gate will be relocked at the conclusion of the exclusive ballot holder period from 7.00pm Sunday 14th May. Signage will show ‘no vehicle access tracks’ and ‘designated parking areas’ – please comply! Quad / mule gates will be open for the mallard hunting season only. The main gates and western access gate will be unlocked for the last weekend of the mallard season, plus two extra days for the recovery of gear – open from 7.00pm Friday 2nd June and closed 7.00pm Wednesday 7th June.
** For those balloted hunters having difficulty accessing their maimai during the period when gates are closed, should contact the office to discuss options.
Lake Tamurenui - main access track gate will be unlocked from 7.00am Thursday 4th May – gate relocked 7.00pm Tuesday 9th May . The mountain bike track will be closed to bikers from 24th April and reopened 6th June.
Ohaaki - main gate unlocked from 7.00am Thursday 4th May – main gate relocked 7.00pm Tuesday 9th May.
Orotu - main road gate is to be locked at all times. Vehicle access keys may be obtained by contacting the landowner as shown in the reserve access details.
Thornton - main access gate will be unlocked from 7.00am Thursday 4th May – main access gate will be relocked 7.00pm Wednesday 7th June.
All other managed wetland reserves have vehicle access for the duration of the mallard hunting season (6th May – 5th June). However please note that some require landowner consultation as per reserve access details. Where possible it is preferable that vehicles are parked outside the reserve and walking access is taken to reduce disturbance.
Eastern Region Game Bird Hunting Ballots & Casual Permits:
Maintaining your maimai and the surrounding habitat is one of the key obligations of hunters in the ballot, yet this task often gets neglected.
Keeping water areas clear for hunting and ensuring there is suitable habitat for brood rearing is important and can have a bearing on the success of other hunters.
Fish and Game regularly gets complaints from hunters that the “other guys” aren’t doing what is required to keep the reserves in good condition.
Further, we have observed hunters spraying plants that provide food for ducks.
So last year the Council decided to take on more of the spraying to try and improve hunting, brood-rearing habitat and, reduce the incidence of spraying the wrong plants.
The Council have decided to introduce a small fee to cover the cost of employing a suitably qualified person to spray the reserves.
The habitat maintenance fee is $35 for each adult and $15 for each junior hunter.
There is no fee for Child hunters.
NOTE: Kapenga Wetland is no longer a Wildlife Management Reserve and has reverted to private ownership with Kapenga M Trust.
Consequently, this wetland is no longer able to be accessed for game bird hunting to Fish & Game/ DOC permit holders
Casual Permits to Hunt in the Wetlands:
Casual permits, for non-ballot holders to hunt wetlands administered by Eastern Fish & Game, can be obtained by ringing or writing to the office in Rotorua. Casual permits to hunt in the wetlands aren't available until after the first two weeks (including three weekends) of the season. This allows a good period of uninterrupted hunting for ballot holders.
Eastern Forest Access – hunting and fishing
Rotorua is surrounded by several privately owned plantation forests and good seasonal fishing and hunting are available. All forest access requires visitors to be permitted.
The Kaingaroa forest south of Rotorua is home to excellent trout fishing in the Rangataiki river system. The forest also has some of the region’s best upland game bird hunting.
A detailed fishing brochure on the Rangataiki River system can be found here
Additional access information here
The forest is generally open between May and September when the fire risk is low. Permits are required to enter the forest and these are available through First Security, 23 Monokia Street, Rotorua Ph 07-347 0297, or by visiting https://www.firstsecurity.co.nz/sectors/forestry/
The Rotoehu forest provides excellent upland game bird hunting during the season. Access permits are via First Security above.
Waimangu for access provides access to Lake Rotomahana. Access permits are via First Security above.
Upland Game Bird Hunting:
Some of New Zealand's best pheasant and quail hunting is found in the Eastern Region. A lot of this hunting is in the production forestry areas of the Bay of Plenty managed by Timberlands Ltd. For information on how to obtain a permit to hunt in these forests contact First Security, 23 Monokia Street, Rotorua Ph 07-347 0297 Upland game bird hunters in the Gisborne- East Coast area can apply to Juken New Zealand LTD for permits to hunt game birds within forest blocks that they manage in the Gisborne and Wairoa area, this includes the Patunamu and Wharerata Forests. Permits and more information relating to this is available from the Juken NZ office at 74 McDonalds Rd, Matawhero, Gisborne, Ph 06 869 1100.
For information and advice on wetland creation, contact the staff at your local Fish & Game office. Wetlands in the Eastern Region are now rare. In some parts, less than 1% of the original wetlands remain.
The Habitat Trust fund is one source of funding for enhancement, purchase or development of wetlands. If you have a proposal to create or enhance a large area of wetland we may be able to assist you to obtain funding.