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The Future of Hunting and Shooting in New Zealand

By Nik Maxwell
  •   16th Oct, 2020 Oct 16, 2020, 1:12 PM
  •   2 Comments
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This weekend will mark the end of what has been somewhat of a tumultuous three years under the current government. I'm not sure I can recall a time when the New Zealand hunting and shooting community has come under such scrutiny and pressure.

 

Below are three previously published editorials which I feel are pertinent to what a Labour government, or worse still, a Labour led coalition with the Green Party, could mean for our community.

 

The harsh reality is, and it is looking very likely that Labour will govern, we will be subject to further pressure and even more restrictions.

 

Where applicable, I have abridged some of the text and added in a few extra links to the organisations and associations who work tirelessly to protect our hunting and shooting heritage.

 

NO ROOM FOR APATHY

Given recent events, never has playing an active role in the support of our hunting and shooting associations, organisations, societies and clubs become so important.

 

Shooting and firearm ownership, and perhaps to a lesser degree hunting, are under intense and increasing scrutiny from both the media and general public.

 

They say any coverage is better than no coverage but these days I tend to disagree. All but only the most unbiased news reporter or media show presenter portrays just about any firearms related incident as a huge cause of concern to the entire nation and a reason to reconsider the need for hunters and shooters (that’s you and I...) to possess firearms.

 

What can we do about this? Well, involving ourselves at a local or even national level can only act to strengthen our position as legitimate, law-abiding outdoorspeople.

 

There is strength in numbers so joining any of our current organisations, associations, foundations etc is a step in the right direction. SSANZ, COLFO, the Central North Sika Foundation, the Fiordland Wapiti Foundation, the NZ Game Animal Council, the NZ Tahr Foundation, and the NZDA are just some of the bodies devoted to protecting your right to hunt and shoot, and they deserve our support.

 

“Ownership, responsibility and pride are words that come to mind when I consider what is required to ensure our pastime, hobby and for many, way of life, are protected from those who mean to take them from us. Support the work that is being done on your behalf.”

 

As a collective, hunters and shooters alike also need to be mindful of how we present ourselves to modern society. Social media provides us with a platform to deliver content whenever, and of whatever, we like.

 

I’ve all but embraced every aspect of this medium and use it primarily to advocate the enjoyment and fulfilment that a lifestyle involving hunting, shooting and the outdoors provides.

 

There is value in showcasing to the uninitiated what it is that makes us hunters and shooters, what drives us to spend countless days in the hills in the pursuit of game, the time and patience required to build and set up a rifle - be it for hunting, competition or just the simple pleasure of owning a piece of precision equipment.

 

Ownership, responsibility and pride are words that come to mind when I consider what is required to ensure our pastime, hobby and for many, way of life, are protected from those who mean to take them from us. Support the work that is being done on your behalf.

 

Promote to the wider audience the value that hunting, shooting and the outdoors offers to our youth. Become an advocate of this lifestyle. There is no room for apathy.

 

Published in NZG&H #163, Nov/Dec 2017

--- Article continues below ---

 

GET INVOLVED

If you think your hunting and shooting activities are safe, think again. It has become increasingly obvious that our recreational pastimes are under real threat as those in power look to place further restrictions on our firearm ownership while systematically undermining our hunting heritage and game animal harvesting opportunities.

 

The most recent “fiasco” was the proposal by current Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage, to cull over 17,000 tahr from our public lands.

 

However, through some swift and determined action from the NZ Tahr Foundation, support from other interested parties, a National Party “Stop the Cull” petition and overwhelming financial support from the wider hunting and shooting community, the cull was postponed and the NZTF and DoC went into discussions to produce a more practical, cost effective and mutually beneficial control plan.

 

The point here is that with large scale support, both financially and by the numbers, change and influence can happen. It is also important to note that many of the people fighting these battles (on your behalf) do so as volunteers.

 

“If you think your hunting and shooting activities are safe, think again. It has become increasingly obvious that our recreational pastimes are under real threat as those in power look to place further restrictions on our firearm ownership while systematically undermining our hunting heritage and game animal harvesting opportunities.”

 

Sure, they may have a vested interest but don’t we all. Whether you are an outfitter/hunting guide, seasoned enthusiast, weekend warrior or once a year adventurer, we are all a part of the system.

 

As an individual, you would be forgiven for wondering at these times “But what can I do?

 

The answer is simple, get involved. One of the best ways to do this is to join an organisation. Sporting Shooters of New Zealand (SSANZ), Council of Licensed Firearm Owners (COLFO), Fiordland Wapiti Foundation (FWF), Central North Island Sika Foundation (CNISF) and Hunters & Habitats are just some of the mainstream organisations that work behind the scenes to make sure your interests are looked after.

 

These groups rely on membership and when push comes to shove, they will be at the frontline protecting
those interests.

 

If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.

 

This quote, from the influential Malcolm X, rings very close to home and I can’t help but think that those individuals who aren’t prepared to stand up for their hunting and shooting pursuits, may be the very first to lose them.

 

Hunting and shooting in New Zealand are not rights, they are privileges. Provide the organisations the
support they deserve and need.

 

Published in NZG&H #169, Nov/Dec 2018

 

TRANSPARENCY: THE FUTURE OF HUNTING AND SHOOTING IN NEW ZEALAND

Like me, I’m sure many of you are beginning to wonder what exactly the future holds for firearm ownership (and the myriad of associated activities) in New Zealand.

 

As the government-led confiscation of once legal firearms from law abiding licensed firearms owners begins, what I really want clarification from the government is, how far do they intend to take this?

--- Article continues below ---

 

The Labour Party strongly campaigned during pre-election that they would be both transparent and progressive. So, I think the general public deserves to know to what extent our current coalition government is prepared to go to.

 

The coalition thrives on ideals and with that being the case, I would ask that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern make it absolutely clear what her ideal New Zealand looks like in terms of civilian firearm ownership.

 

The question is this: Does Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern seek full disarmament of all New Zealand civilians? It is a simple yes or no question.

 

Is it too much to ask that our Prime Minister publicly discloses this? Not at all. I’m only asking what her ideal is, her own opinion. Just so we all know exactly where she stands.

 

If it’s all about transparency and progressiveness, lead by example and show your constituents how transparent and progressive you are.

 

“I want to raise my children in the same manner my father did with me. A life of outdoor pursuits that involves hunting, shooting and everything good that goes with it; resilience, courage, responsibility, fitness, skill, independence, patience, respect and passion. The question remains, will I be able to?”

 

It’s time to put it all on the table so that our hunting and shooting community can also be progressive. Many of us have dedicated our lives to hunting and shooting. It is our passion and the physical and mental health benefits from our activities are as valid and important as any other legitimate pastime in our country.

 

We often share our experiences with family, friends and sometimes even strangers. It is a way of life for hundreds and thousands of decent, law-abiding kiwis. And we under threat of losing it.

 

So Prime Minister, where does the typical hunting and shooting New Zealander fit in with your modern ideology?

 

Do you have a place for us? Are we just as considered as any other kiwi? Is the wellbeing of the New Zealand hunting and shooting community secure in your hands?

 

I can’t imagine anyone investing their precious time, effort and money into an activity whose existence is under threat, especially if that threat is government-led.

 

I want to raise my children in the same manner my father did with me. A life of outdoor pursuits that involves hunting, shooting and everything good that goes with it; resilience, courage, responsibility, fitness, skill, independence, patience, respect and passion.

 

The question remains, will I be able to?

 

Published in NZG&H #174, Sep/Oct 2019

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