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 Season
**Ballot holders undertaking maintenance of stands and ponds are permitted to do works for the months of February and March (& part April) only. Access to stands is not permitted during the four weeks prior to opening weekend to minimise bird disturbance.
Locked gates inhibiting vehicle access occurs in six reserves;
For Awaiti, Lower Kaituna and Thornton WMR’s - the gates for these wetlands will be opened from 7.00am Saturday 11th February 2023 and will be closed from 7.00pm Monday 10th April 2023. The only reason the gates will be re-locked during this period, will be due to significant track degradation. This will be notified on the website.
For Awakaponga, Lake Tamurenui and Ohaaki WMR’s – due to ongoing theft and vandalism the gates will remain closed. Walk in access for maintenance is permitted.
All locked gates will be re-opened for vehicle access from 7.00am Thursday 4th May 2022 for the commencing hunting season (opening day Saturday 6th May).
Queries; John Meikle, Fish & Game Officer 021 375 480
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 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.
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.