Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere is renowned as a game-bird hunting area. Rakiraki/mallard ducks are the key target for hunters. Other species available for hunting include kakī nui/kakī anu/black swan, pūtakitaki/paradise shelducks and tataa/shoveler ducks.
North Canterbury Fish & Game rules cover hunting on Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere. The open season is on the first Saturday in May. Hunters require a licence to hunt from Fish & Game.
There are many maimais (duckshooter hides) located around the Te Waihora shoreline. There is a maimai agreement between Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, North Canterbury Fish & Game Council and Te Papa Atawhai (Department of Conservation), which ensures recreational hunters can continue to use the area while recognising the rights of Te Rūnanga and conservation legislation requirements.
The agreement states that a portion of the gamebird hunting licence fee from maimai users goes into a joint fund for enhancement projects. A key decision arising from the agreement was the banning of lead shot at Te Waihora.
Hunters need to obtain permission from Fish & Game and Te Papa Atawhai (Department of Conservation) to build a maimai.
All rules relating to hunting on Te Waihora can be found on the Fish & Game website.
In addition to a Fish & Game licence, hunters on Te Papa Atawhai (Department of Conservation) managed land on the shores of Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere require a permit from Te Papa Atawhai.
According to Fish & Game, the best time to hunt on Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere is during a strong southerly wind when birds fly to the downwind shore.
The Canada goose appears in the Fifth Schedule of the Wildlife Act 1953 - wildlife not protected. This means Canada goose can be hunted at any time using any method except poisoning.
Hunting Canada goose is not subject to Fish & Game rules so they can be hunted with permission from landowners. Hunters wishing to hunt Canada goose on conservation land still need to obtain a hunting permit but not a game licence.
Four key waterfowl species are protected in Aotearoa New Zealand and cannot be hunted. These include the tētē/grey teal, scaup/pāpango, whio/blue duck and the pāteke/brown teal.
Tētē/grey teal - Image copyright: Peter Langlands - Wild Capture
Pāpango/scaup - Image copyright: Kelvin McMillian