Take action Demand a ban on bird shooting

Ducks and other waterbirds

Is there a more idyllic image of childhood than feeding ducks by the riverside? The simple joy of watching ducks glide across the water, hearing their calls, and even in some cases earning their trust, is etched in our memories as a childhood rite.

New Zealand is home to many species of ducks and other waterbirds, each with their own charming characteristics and unique beauty. Walks by the river and picnics by the lake would not be the same without our quirky, feathered companions for company.

Inquisitive and social, ducks are often found in groups or pairs. While most species of duck find a new mate each year, paradise shelducks mate for life and return to the same nesting area year after year.

Bird shooting in New Zealand

It’s hard to imagine why anyone would want to harm our peaceful, feathered friends but sadly, for now, bird shooting is still legal in New Zealand.

Every year during bird shooting season, our peaceful lakes and wetlands are disturbed by the sound of gunfire, resulting in the death and injury of countless birds.

Ducks, geese, swans and pukeko are among the species considered ‘fair game’ by shooters. Native species such as paradise shelducks and the grey duck are also shot.

Injured birds left to die

While some hunters use dogs to retrieve birds, many injured birds are never found and are left to die slow and painful deaths.

International studies suggest that 20 to 40% of water birds that are hit by shotgun pellets are never retrieved. If even only 20% of the approximately one million birds shot in New Zealand each year are left crippled, this would equate to 200,000 birds suffering prolonged deaths.


Many hunters claim that bird shooting is a way to feed their family, yet every year during bird shooting season, the media reports countless stories of dumped dead birds, proving that many shooters kill more birds than they can take.

This crude and blatant disregard for life is simply unacceptable and will only stop when bird shooting is banned for good.

We need compassion, not cruelty

SAFE continues to call on the Government, as it has in the past, to commission an independent review of injury rates. These calls have been ignored by ministers and vigorously resisted by shooting advocates, including Fish & Game New Zealand.

When reviews were undertaken in some Australian states, the true suffering caused by bird shooting was revealed. As a result, bird shooting has been banned in Western Australia (1990), New South Wales (1995) and Queensland (2005).

Give birds a voice

Petition for a Commissioner for Animals

You can make a lasting difference for birds by calling for a Commissioner for Animals in Aotearoa. We need an independent representative in Parliament who can champion the legal rights of animals and give them a voice at the highest level.

‘Casual’ violence to animals is dangerous to all

Children naturally care about animals, but when society normalises activities such as bird shooting, we run the risk of dangerously reprogramming the kindness our children were born with.

Considering that there are proven links between animal cruelty and domestic violence, we need to consider the long-term impacts of violent pastimes such as bird shooting on our society.

Teaching our future generations to respect and care for New Zealand’s precious wildlife starts with us. If you have young, caring animal lovers in your life, why not nurture their compassion by registering them for SAFE’s Animal Squad. It’s free for kids aged from eight to 14. Members receive newsletters, packed with fun animal facts, kind recipes, competitions and more.

Demand a ban on bird shooting

Ask the Associate Minister of Primary Industries (Animal Welfare), Meka Whaitiri, to ban bird shooting in Aotearoa.

Every year during the bird shooting season, our beautiful wetlands are disturbed by gunfire as innocent ducks are indiscriminately slaughtered by duck shooters. Demand the Government end this cruelty. 


Write a polite email to the Associate Minister about why you want an end to bird shooting.


Key points you can make:

  • Birds who are not killed outright are often maimed and suffer prolonged and painful deaths.
  • Lead shot used to hunt birds contaminates the environment and indiscriminately poisons any animals who ingest it. (While some sizes of lead shot have been banned, other sizes are still legal).
  • There is a clear link between animal cruelty and domestic violence. Exposing children to a recreational activity that involves animal cruelty is dangerous and wrong.
  • Native species are injured as well as introduced species by bird shooters, by inaccurate identification, accidental injury, or contamination of their environment by lead.
  • No animals should suffer for entertainment.
  • Society as a whole is becoming more concerned about animal welfare issues and demanding better care of animals.
  • New Zealand is falling behind and putting our international reputation at risk.
  • I ask you to urgently take action to end bird shooting.

This email will be sent directly to the Associate Minister of Agriculture, Meka Whaitiri. Emails are public information, if you would like to withhold any of your information please state that in your email.

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