Being able to hunt year-round on public land in New Zealand with little restrictions on the game animals we take is a right we must never take for granted and one we need to protect. We can do this by fighting the battles we need to fight and by building strong communications and a team approach with organisations whom we can partner with, at the same time promoting the benefits that we, as hunters, and our whanau receive.
With that in mind, as a community of hunters and firearm users, what should we be using as the cornerstone of our identity, and what are the building blocks that’ll secure hunting for future generations? This is my opinion and does not necessarily reflect those of other team members at NZRod&Rifle, but my cornerstones for NZ hunters would contain the following fundamental beliefs:
• Hunting and our game animals play an important role in the lives of hunters and in the conservation of our whenua.
• Valued introduced species have a huge positive impact on NZ, hunters and their families in terms of health and wellbeing and fitness.
• Hunting is an important tradition, and every healthy ecosystem needs an element of hunting and predation to maintain a sustainable balance.
• Our rights as hunters should be balanced with the ecological needs of each area of public land. Where culling needs to happen, we should be given first opportunity to carry this out.
• Hunters should participate and encourage pest control and adhere to the principles of kaitiakitanga, where we also are guardians of the land.
• As hunters, we need to conduct ourselves with the highest values and standards when taking game animals, carrying firearms and while sharing our public land with all New Zealanders.
Principles are the rudder of our ship; they guide our decision-making and form the basis of all our teachings to the public and new hunters.
By nature, we hunters are often very individualistic and happy in our own company; we all disagree on many things. As a group, we need guiding principles, and we need a combined voice that knows who we are and where we want to go.
These are some of my views on what I want the wider public to know about hunting and what I believe we should be teaching our children and grandchildren. It’s a topic worthy of consideration and discussion – what would be your foundational principles? Let’s continue this conversation.