National President

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Craig Benbow National President
Malvern Branch

Elected 2020.

Its been a very full month for many of us and for those who have hunted with success, congratulations and I hope you enjoyed the time out with others and enjoying our special places. The economic boost hunter activity provides to rural communities and mixing effect of increasingly urban based hunters with rural people a good thing for our understanding and collaboration going forward but also good for our souls to get insights into others lives.

For me the highlights of the month have been a quick trip into the south end of Molesworth with Richard Wells. A new area for me and we were fortunate to see a few animals but not able to take any that trip. The legs did get stretched however and the sad march of wilding pines, across a landscape that must be protected, observed.

Fiordland Wapiti Ballot

Venturing south to Fiordland will always be something to fret over and this trip was no different. Not a bed available in Te Anau on Good Friday so that was good for the locals not so for me but I had an alternative. 150 eager hunters at the Wapiti briefing all scoffing a last good meal or few beers was great to see and Roy Sloan commenting that they were not taking in much of what he said as they were so amped up at the 10 days before them.

My eldest son and I flew into Charles Block and spent 8 days in there before getting out in advance of some very significant weather coming in that delayed the next period hunters considerably. For us the trip was pretty uneventful, a young stag sighted on the first day and re-sighted 4 times over reminded us there were deer there but his lonesome roars were the only ones we heard and the warm temperatures had us sweating but at least the rivers stayed down.

A great time to reset, take in one of the most remote parts of Fiordland, and observe the geology, vigorous and plentiful plant life and extremely limited birdlife in the particular area. Our inquisitive stag came to visit us in camp on the last morning we were there. Hopefully he will grow to something worthy of a closer look for someone else at another time, he was constant entertainment if nothing else.

Forest and Bird Request Judicial Review

Everyone should by now be aware that Forest and Bird have requested a judicial review into the management of Fiordland National Park by DOC and as Fiordland Wapiti Foundation is delivering the management regime they have been dragged into this as well. While directed at this agreement between the two parties the implications of this across our national parks and even beyond are not to be under estimated or the nature of the action in broader terms. We are doing, and will increasingly do whatever we can as an organisation to support FWF and DOC in this case. Our purpose as an organisation is to protect our traditional rights to hunt. This is a challenge to our rights and the ability of DOC to enter into agreed regimes that benefit nature and enable expanded efforts to protect nature. The potential for this case to impact all of the great work being done all around the country must not be under estimated.   

Vice President

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Callum Sheridan Vice President
Auckland Branch

Elected 2022. Previously North Island rep 2020-2022. 

I hope you have all had a safe and successful roar period, and its still going for some, I have seen some great heads come in across the country, I was lucky enough myself to secure a nice Sika.



Like most of you I have had a busy few weeks with on the hill activities, I have also been busy with various reports and bios for our conference handbook, it still seems early but our annual national conference is not far away and by all accounts is shaping up to be a great event to being hosted by the Hutt Valley branch, organising conference is a big task putting extra admin pressure on the branch volunteers and our staff in the national office. I hope each branch is making plans to attend, it is hugely beneficial for branch development and building relationships within the wider association.


Forest and Bird Jeopardises FWF’s Work

The recent news regarding forest and bird taking the department of conservation to court I’m sure has a lot of your attention, it is truly unbelievable that this invaluable commonsense conservation that costs the tax payer nothing is coming under fire due to unrealistic ideology, The FWF and their fantastic work will be caught up in the middle of the fireworks.


I only hope their incredible work is not undone, the looming legal action is a real threat and something to take seriously, as the NZDA FWF rep I will be ensuring that the NZDA does all it can to assist the FWF to protect their hard work and the best managed heard of valued introduced species on public land in the NZ, loosing this heard and the extraordinary conservation work the FWF carry out would be truly devastating for the NZ Hunting and conservation community. Check out for more information and to donate to the cause.

Goat Comp 2024

Another reminder about the 2024 nationwide goat competition in collaboration with DOC, if your branch would like to be a hub please contact me to register you interest.


Douglas Score Committee Meeting

The Douglas score subcommittee is another work stream of mine, so far it is proving to be very successful with good headway being made in our first meeting, our next meeting is the beginning of May, I would like to invite any Douglas scorers or branches to contact me should they have any questions, it would be great to hear any input you may have.


South Island Rep

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Richard Wells South Island Rep
Nelson Branch

Elected 2022.

Marcel with his first deer in Pisa ballot block

My hunting experiences lately have taught me the joy I get seeing the joy “new” hunters have in their hunting experiences culminating in success. On two occasions I was with hunters who took their first ever deer or stag and the experience was great. The whole process of trip organisation, stalking, shooting and then processing the meat was all on the table to be learned.

Tamar with first red stag on a South Westland ballot block


I recall stating at the Conference where I first sought nomination to the Board that “if I never shoot another deer it’s not a tragedy, but if my children don’t have the same opportunities I have had, it is…”. Well, its almost come to that this year in terms of my own exploits! But seeing the next generation grow into and enjoy the sport is the best feeling ever. The smiles on the hunters’ faces say it all.

This is why we exist, generational sustainability of our sports (hunting and shooting) and keeping at it takes a bit of stamina but the rewards are big.


Research Funding

There will be a summaries of research projects in Newsletters and also a big wrap up at Conference with presentations, but a BIG reminder to all Branches –

  1. We have funds available for projects
  2. I will support you in developing the germ of an idea into a solid proposal for Board consideration
  3. Branches can get together to develop projects
  4. If in doubt, or interested, just contact me!


Conference Reminder

Finally, don’t forget….Conference is coming and if you have ideas about NoMs or Remits then start the process of developing them. Again, your local Board reps can guide you in the process to ensure these are well drafted to be best understood and considered by Conference; and again, talk to another like-minded Branch!