About Us

The Game Animal Council Act came into force on 28 November 2013. It establishes a new statutory body called the Game Animal Council.

The goal of the Game Animal Council is improving the management of deer, chamois, tahr, and wild pigs. These animals will be defined as "game animals". The only species of wild animal under the Wild Animal Control Act 1977 that will not be a game animal under the new Act is goat.

The Act provides for the Minister of Conservation to designate, by Gazette notice, any species of game animal, in a defined location on public conservation land a "herd of special interest". These herds will be so designated, and managed for hunting purposes, if they do not compromise other uses or conservation values.

The Act allows all of the Minister's functions under the Act to be delegated to the Game Animal Council, except for the power to capture, convey or liberate animals that are part of a herd of special interest. This power of delegation may be subject to directions or conditions set by the Minister and must be made in writing.

In addition to the management function for herds of special interest, the Game Animal Council has other functions including:

  • providing advice to the Minister on game animals
  • providing information and education
  • promoting safety
  • liaising with others on improving hunting opportunities
  • conducting research on game animal hunting

The Council also has functions relating to:

  • providing advice on hunting of game animals to private landowners
  • operating voluntary certification schemes and codes of conduct for certified hunting guides and game estates
  • investigating complaints and taking disciplinary action in respect of certified hunting guides and game estates

On 17 April 2014, Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith and Associate Minister Peter Dunne announced the appointment of 11 members to the inaugural Game Animal Council.

The 11 members are:

  • Donald Hammond (chair)
  • Thomas (Mark) Brough
  • Roger Duxfield
  • Professor Geoffrey Kerr
  • Steven McFall
  • Alexander (Alec) McIver
  • William O’Leary
  • Garry Ottmann
  • Terence Pierson
  • Roy Sloan
  • Carol Watson

The establishment of the Game Animal Council and the appointment of its members is an important step forward for the hunting sector in New Zealand. The Council will bring a new system of self-management to the sector and acknowledges the important role that hunting plays both recreationally and commercially in New Zealand. It also ensures that hunting in New Zealand is secured for generations to come.


On Wednesday 31May 2017, Associate Conservation Minister Hon Peter Dunne announced new appointments to the Game Animal Council (GAC).

The full Council membership is :

  • Richard Burdon of Wanaka, with experience in commercial hunting and hunting-related tourism
  • Rachael Dean of Cambridge, with experience in recreational Hunting
  • Roger Duxfield, of Putaruru, with experience in hunting-related tourism
  • Stephen Hall of New Plymouth, with experience in nature conservation
  • Donald (Don) Hammond, of Rotorua, with experience in recreational hunting and forestry management
  • Professor Geoffrey (Geoff) Kerr, of Christchurch, with experience in scientific disciplines relating to game animals
  • Garry Ottmann, of Rangiora, with experience in game animal management
  • Alexander (Alec) McIvor, of Rotorua, with experience in recreational hunting and kaitiakitanga
  • Carol Watson, of Auckland, with experience in recreational hunting and hunting retail

The Minister announced “The new Council brings together a wide range skills, attributes, interests and time to govern the work of the GAC. As a national body, the new membership provides a diversity of skills , sector interests and geographical spread".

The 2017 Council