Game Bird Habitat Stamp Photo Competition

Entries open now

The New Zealand Fish and Game Council in cooperation with the New Zealand Game Bird Habitat Trust is running a photo competition. The winning image will be used on the Game Bird Habitat Stamp and Game Bird Licence. 

Ideally the photo will depict the chosen game bird in its natural habitat. In some instances a photo of a harvested bird will be accepted however it must be tasteful and highlight the bird well. 

The Habitat Stamp is traditionally launched on February 2nd each year in acknowledgement of World Wetland Day.

The New Zealand Fish and Game Council in cooperation with the New Zealand Game Bird Habitat Trust is running two photo competitions concurrently to select a winning image to be used on the Game Bird Habitat Stamp for 2021 & 2022. 

We are running two competitions this year so we can be two years ahead in production of the stamps and associated merchandise.

2021 species - NZ shoveler

RCD 8531aThe New Zealand shoveler

The selected game bird species to feature for the 2021 photo competition is the New Zealand shoveler. 

The NZ shoveler was first selected as a stamp in 1995, it featured again in 2010.

Also known as the “spoonie”, the shoveler has comb-like openings in the side of its spoon shaped bill that let it sift fine insect life from the surface of biologically rich wetlands.

The shoveler was uncommon last century but there are now around 150,000 in New Zealand. Because of its' specialised habits, it is unlikely to ever be very common, but birds have moved into wetlands designed for them by Fish & Game NZ.

The male shoveler is New Zealand's most handsome duck, with variegated plumage, blue-grey head with a white vertical stripe between the eye and bill, a striking reddish-brown breast, and blue wings. The female is more plainly embellished with cryptic brown similar to female mallards and grey ducks. This may be nature's way of providing camouflage when she is nesting.

2022 Species - the pheasant

RCD 8515AThe ring necked pheasant

The selected game bird species to feature for the 2022 photo competition is the pheasant, NOTE: this competition is being run concurrently in 2020. 

The pheasant was first selected as a stamp in 2001, it featured again in 2011.

Pheasants are one of New Zealand’s most sought after game birds. Their bright plumage and superb eating qualities make them popular with all game bird hunters.

The first English pheasants arrived in Wellington in 1842 and further liberations resulted in the bird being abundant in both islands by 1870. The pheasant population then plunged into a remarkable decline, from which it has never recovered, due to eating poisoned grain used for rabbit eradication followed by the release of stoats and weasels to quell the rabbit plague.

However, there are still enough pheasants for hunting, assisted in some areas by annual releases of hand reared stock.

Photo Competition

The competition is open to anyone, except those directly involved with the competition and judging (including their families and relatives). The competition is also not open to Fish & Game staff or their families.

If you are under the age of 16 you must have permission to enter from your parent or guardian. By submitting an entry for the competition, your parent/carer/guardian is deemed to have given such consent and to agree to the use of the entry as described in these terms and conditions.

Your entry must be submitted digitally via the Fish and Game website below.  No other forms of entry will be accepted.

By submitting images, each entrant confirms and warrants that:

  • the images are originals and have not been circulated or published previously
  • they are the sole author/photographer of each entry and that it is their original work;
  • they own the copyright and any other intellectual property rights of each image;
  • if anyone is pictured in the image (or, where the image shows any persons under 18, the consent of their parent/guardian) for the usage rights required and will indemnify against any claims made by any third parties in respect of such infringement;
  • they have received any necessary permissions from the owner(s) of depicted background objects including land, and buildings included in submitted images for the usage rights required
  • that if selected to feature on the Game Bird Habitat Stamp they will become the sole property of Fish & Game to use for all commercial and promotional activities.
  • There is one prize to be won for each year's competition. The New Zealand Game Bird Habitat Trust will give the winner of the competition $1,000. 

What to enter

  1. Photographs of the annual nominated species in its wild natural habitat
  2. Photographs must be a minimum 1MB – maximum 5MB file.
  3. Entries must not have been a ‘winner’ in any other photographic competition or be currently submitted for any other competition.
  4. A maximum of three entries may be entered per applicant
  5. Birds photographed in captivity such as in zoos, wildlife parks or similar locations are not eligible.

The competition winner for 2020 was Marlborough's Matt Winter, learn more about his photo here.

The next game bird species to feature is the NZ Shoveler (spoonbill) followed by the pheasant.

These will become the species for 2021, and 2022 game bird habitat stamp.


A panel of Judges will select images based upon technical quality, plus the aspect and background to the subject bird. The ideal shot will be of the nominated species at home in the sort of natural environment where it will thrive. Judges will look for diversity, originality and creativity of the composition. Judging will be anonymous.

The decision of the organisers is final and no correspondence will be entered into concerning the competition’s judging and organisation. Once the winner is announced, all ownership rights to non-successful entrants will return to those entrants.

Announcement of winners

Judges will choose the winning shot and contact the winner privately.  The public will not be informed of the winner until the Game Bird Habitat Stamp is launched for the appropriate year.

Usage Rights

By entering the competition, you grant the Trust an exclusive, irrevocable licence to reproduce, enlarge, publish, exhibit, or commercialise on any item or in any media, the images for any purpose to further its aims and objectives.

The organisers will make every reasonable effort to ensure that name credits are given where appropriate.


Lead time                           

Preparation and publicity to commence with Special Game Edition of Fish and Game Magazine March 2020

Submission period            

Entries are required by 1 September 2020

Selection period                

Selection of winning entries for the two habitat stamps will be made by mid October 2020.

Preparation of habitat stamp & its release   

Winning entries for the two habitat stamps will be submitted by the New Zealand Fish and Game Council to NZ Post by mid November 2020.  The image will feature on the Habitat Stamp to be released February 2nd 2021 & February 2nd 2022.

Terms and Conditions

You can read the full terms and conditions for the competition here               



Step 1: Select your photo.

Step 2: Tell us about it.

Step 3: Accept T&C's and upload your entry

View entries below