I’d like to bring your attention to some indicators that the tide is turning – this being due to the combined efforts of our advocacy organisations, our spokespeople and you the general hunting community.
This is the wording of a recently published Department of Conservation Biodiversity Plan called Te Mana o te Taioi, which means: the prestige/respect for the living environment. Paragraph 4.1.5 headed “Non-indigenous species are also a part of nature” has many terms indicative of a change in thinking around some of our introduced species. Here are some of the more relevant statements in the document:
“ Many of these [introduced] species are critical to our everyday lives. ”
“ These include … animals and fish that are hunted for food or sport. ”
“ These species are considered valued introduced species. ”
“ Reaching a balance to ensure that valued introduced species continue to provide the benefits they are valued for, while also ensuring that indigenous biodiversity thrives is a key challenge for Aotearoa NZ. ”
It’s my opinion that the wording in this document is a direct result of the passion, advocacy and promotion of hunting as an integral part of Kiwi culture and a key facet of any conservation plan. There’s still a long way to go but the policy of fighting the battles we need to fight whilst maintaining an end goal of being included as a respected and valuable partner in maintaining the ecological and biodiversity balance in New Zealand is a winning strategy long-term.
With life seemingly becoming more expensive and with a raft of increasing poverty and rising rents/house prices in New Zealand, hunting and gathering your own food in a responsible, ethical manner remains one of the most beautiful and important pastimes for many of us – it’s one of my key reasons for living here. Although getting set up to hunt can be expensive, once you have the right gear, you can have a lifetime of bringing value to your family’s and friends’ lives by being able to feed them some of the healthiest, freshest natural game meat in the world.
It’s well worth the effort and continued fight to protect this for future generations.
Stay safe and shoot straight!
– Dave Benfell