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.


Balloted Wetlands Gate Restrictions 2021 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 9th  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 PM Sunday 30th May 2021.

Awaiti -  main gate unlocked AM Friday 30th April – the main gate will be relocked at the conclusion of the exclusive ballot holder period PM Sunday 9th  May. Quad/mule gate will be open for mallard season – closed PM Sunday 30th May. The two gates beside Looney’s driveway will be locked at all times.

Awakaponga - gate locked all season, walking access only

Kaituna -  main car park gates and western access gate will be unlocked AM Friday 30th April – main gates and western access gate will be relocked at the conclusion of the exclusive ballot holder period PM Sunday 9th  May. Signage will show ‘no vehicle access tracks’ and ‘designated parking areas’ – please comply! Quad/mule gates will be open for mallard season – closed PM Sunday 30th May. The main gates and western access gate will be unlocked for the last weekend of the mallard season for the recovery of gear – open PM Friday 28th  May and closed PM Sunday 30th May.

Lake Tamurenui -  main access track gate will be unlocked AM Friday 30th April – gate relocked PM Monday 3rd May. The mountain bike track will be closed to bikers from 19th April and reopened on 1st  June.

Ohaaki -  main gate unlocked AM Friday 30th April – the main gate relocked PM Monday 3rd  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 AM Friday 30th April – main access gate will be relocked PM Sunday 30th May.


All other managed wetland reserves have vehicle access for the duration of the mallard hunting season (1st May – 30th May). 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:

Please click here for the 2022 ballot draw results. For the list of allocated stands please click here.

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 for the 2022 season.

We continue to work with the Trust to hopefully enable access for 2023

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.

Kaingaroa Forest

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/Pages/ForestryPermit.aspx   

Rotoehu Forest

The Rotoehu forest provides excellent upland game bird hunting during the season. Access permits are via First Security above. 

Waimangu Forest 

Waimangu for access provides access to Lake Rotomahana. Access permits are via First Security above. 

Upland Game Bird Hunting:

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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.

Wetland Creation

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.


Eastern Hunting Spots