Game Bird Habitat Stamp Photo Competition

Entries are now closed

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

Ideally the photo chosen by our judges will depict the chosen game bird in its natural habitat. In some instances a photo of a harvested bird may 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 ran two photo competitions concurrently to select a winning image to be used on the Game Bird Habitat Stamp for 2021 & 2022. 

We are had two competitions in 2020 to 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, 

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.


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.


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 (now closed)

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.