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.

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