NZDA Newsletter Jun 2020By New Zealand Deerstalkers Association
- 22nd Jun, 2020 Jun 22, 2020, 9:14 AM
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Tahr under threat?
The NZDA is closely watching DoC’s plans for tahr, with increasing concern among members about what is being planned.
After the last outcry over DoC’s plans for a major extermination effort, a tahr cull operational plan was developed last year with input from NZDA and other hunting groups wanting to protect this unique trophy herd of increasingly rare animals.
Under the plan, the initial proposal to kill a large part of the tahr herd was scaled back and instead aimed to cull ten thousand animals, none of which were supposed to be bulls.
That target was achieved but the plan expires at the end of June 2020. Our members say there are now vastly fewer tahr in our mountains as a result of the cull. However, DoC is now drafting a new plan which is worrying hunters.
“DOC are not proposing to put any limit on the number culled and are instead using all operational hours available to kill tahr. Bull tahr will not be excluded from the cull.”
Key areas of concern are the proposal to carry out culls on the West Coast and in both the Westland and Mount Cook National Parks.
DOC are not proposing to put any limit on the number culled and are instead using all operational hours available to kill tahr. Bull tahr will not be excluded from the cull.
A meeting is being held shortly between DoC, Game Animal Council, the NZDA, Tahr Foundation and other hunting groups. Hunters are key stakeholders in the Tahr Management Plan and as a public land user group and the NZDA will be doing its utmost to make sure recreational hunters’ views are heard and reflected in the final plan.
We will keep you posted on developments.
Hunting is starting to return to normal after Covid dealt an unprecedented blow to our way of life. New Zealanders, including hunters, have just emerged from one of the most significant and disruptive few months in living memory as the Covid-19 epidemic swept the word.
The pandemic’s economic and social impact will be felt for years to come as our country rebuilds itself. Of course timing is everything, and the nationwide lockdown occurred at the worst possible time for hunters, with the roar, tahr and wapiti ballots, duck hunting and even access to our public lands all being affected.
The NZDA, along with other hunting organisations like the Game Animal Council and Fish & Game, worked with officials to make sure hunters were not forgotten as the country moved to Level Three and then Level Two.
The result of this lobbying ensured that hunters’ voices were heard and as the controls on activity were loosened, hunting and access to public land were once again permitted.
Covid has also dealt a blow to the NZDA’s plans to hold its annual conference in Hamilton this year.
While a lot of work had already gone into the conference, the restrictions on travel, crowd sizes and social distancing left the organisation with little choice but to cancel the physical event.
But as the Covid lockdown showed, there is more than one way to hold such meetings. Technology has come to the rescue and the conference will now be held online via Zoom in the last weekend of July on the 25 and 26th.
The National Executive will be hosting the event from the newly completed Deerstalkers’ House in Wellington.
NEW NATIONAL OFFICES AND HUNTING MUSEUM
The NZDA annual conference on Zoom will be the first major event held in the newly revamped NZDA national headquarters.
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The old building has been totally overhauled and includes construction of the NZDA’s national hunting museum.
While the work was disrupted by the Covid Lockdown, the builders made good progress once restrictions were lifted.
The new premises, which are located in the shadow of Parliament, will prove a modern building which will showcase the
NZDA as a professional organisation, while also honouring hunting’s long and proud tradition in this country. It also provides a much-improved working environment for NZDA staff, who will move back in in early July.
NZDA members owe a debt of gratitude to those who have given up significant amounts of their valuable time to ensure that this major project was successfully completed to such a high standard.
PRIME VENISON FOR THOSE IN NEED
The Covid emergency has cost people jobs and left families around the country struggling to make ends meet.
Hunters have recognised the tough times their fellow kiwis are facing and have launched an initiative to provide them with high quality venison.
The meat comes from the hundreds of deer being culled in Fiordland National Park as part of the Fiordland Wapiti Foundation’s highly successful management of the Wapiti Area within the park.
The Foundation, Game Animal Council, NZDA, DoC and commercial helicopter hunters have joined forces to provide wild venison to New Zealanders in need.
The culled deer will be processed through a certified export standard processing facility and packed into one kilogram parcels of mincemeat.
The packages are then being distributed to foodbanks and other people throughout the country. One pack will feed a family of four for one meal.
“The meat comes from the hundreds of deer being culled in Fiordland National Park as part of the Fiordland Wapiti Foundation’s highly successful management of the Wapiti Area within the park.”
Not only is this fantastic initiative feeding families in need, it is keeping dozens of people in jobs, including helicopter crews, meat processors and transport and logistics staff.
Many NZDA branches have responded to the call and are generously footing the bill to transport the tonnes of meat to their regions and arranging for them to be given to foodbanks.
This generosity and willingness to step up and lend a helping hand is not only great publicity for hunting and the NZDA, but it is also an effort that does all hunters proud.
The initiative also attracted positive media publicity, with radio interviews, television news coverage and good stories on major news websites and in newspapers.
If you want to listen to a lengthy interview with Kathryn Ryan on Radio New Zealand’s 9-Noon programme, please click on the link below:
NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE
The NZDA’s new chief executive Gwyn Thurlow has started work, although he has been busy looking after the organisation’s interests since his appointment was announced at the beginning of April.
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As many of you know, Gwyn is a keen and experienced hunter, but he is also a highly-skilled lawyer and his knowledge of the law and Wellington bureacracy will stand the NZDA in very good stead.
These skills are going to be needed as the National Executive has drawn up a list of ten priority areas for him to concentrate on.
These priority areas include on reducing costs, growing business, engaging with stakeholders and membership. When successfully completed, each of those ten tasks will put the NZDA in a strong position to meet the many challenges it is facing and better represent the interests of its members.
THE PRIME MINISTER ACKNOWLEDGES HUNTING’S PLACE IN NEW ZEALAND
During the lockdown, the NZDA and other hunting organisations were actively working behind the scenes to ensure hunters were treated fairly.
The result of that work saw hunting allowed at level 3, and later, the reopening of public land and hunters being able to once again apply for hunting permits.
This was all good news in itself, but just as important politically was the Prime Minister’s unprecedented public acknowledgement of how important hunting is during one of her regular Covid media conferences.
“While food parcels keep families fed, we know that in many parts of New Zealand, hunting is also a part of providing for many people’s families and whanau,” Jacinda Ardern said.
“Hunting is an important part of life for many New Zealanders. In many places around the country, it fills freezers for the months ahead. It also rids farmland of pests.”
The Prime Minister also talked about how important the game bird hunting season is.
This is the first time in recent memory that any Prime Minister has ever publicly acknowledged the importance of hunting, the value it provides and the fact that it feeds families.
Her comments were undoubtedly prompted by the effective lobbying work conducted by hunting bodies, including the NZDA.
Now that the Prime Minister’s comments are on the public record, the NZDA believes they will be helpful to quote in our dealings with a wide range of people, including politicians and government departments.
One of the most significant dates on hunting’s social calendar is the Sika Show and as restrictions on such major events are eased, it looks like the show will be held as normal at the end of September in Taupo.
As this will be one of the first major such shows to be held since the pandemic, organisers are optimistic that it will prove popular and attract a good sized crowd.
“One of the most significant dates on hunting’s social calendar is the Sika Show and as restrictions on such major events are eased, it looks like the show will be held as normal at the end of September in Taupo.”
The NZDA will once again be represented at the show, with display booths booked for the organisation and the Heritage Trust.
If you haven’t been to the Sika Show, make an effort to attend this year. It is a chance to see the latest developments in the hunting sector, as well as catching up with hunting mates you haven’t seen for a while.
And of course make sure you drop into the NZDA and Heritage Trust stands to see what the organisation is doing to look after the interests of all hunters. While you are there, pick up an application form to join and do your bit to protect our hunting heritage.
Visit www.deerstalkers.org.nz for further details.
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