The NZTF has continued to attend numerous meetings including tahr liaison, WARO, AATH, the illegal hunting workshop to name a few. Advocating for better use of that our resource and decisions going forward. As everyone knows this volunteer work takes considerable time and effort. I would like to thank all the team who have helped with these meetings and preparing to get the right message across for the best outcomes for the hunting sector.

The NZTF has continued to attend numerous meetings including tahr liaison, WARO, AATH, the illegal hunting workshop to name a few. Advocating for better use of that
our resource and decisions going forward. As everyone knows this volunteer work takes considerable time and effort. I would like to thank all the team who have helped with these meetings and preparing to get the right message across for the best outcomes for the hunting sector.

Up until now in New Zealand our attempts at game animal management have been basic at best. With our newly elected Government’s focus on hunting and fishing we
look to see some real progress in this area. It is so awesome to see their willingness to create a Herd of Special Interest (HOSI) for tahr.

I would really like to thank everyone on the NZTF committee for all their help and support during the past year. 

David Keen, Chairperson 2022-2023

Tahr Foundation Annual Report 2022


Throughout the 2022-year, the NZTF’s role extended past advocacy into active management, shifting gears to become proactive rather than reactive.

To achieve sensible tahr management, the NZTF is required to work with groups or organisations that hunters may not trust or who hold opposing views. To do this, we must hold firmly to our core positions but remain flexible in the path taken to achieve our long term mission. The NZTF team has embraced this reality and through consultation and active management, endeavored to provide direct, well considered and solutions focused advice for improving tahr management. Our approach puts emphasis on achieving the goals we can collectively agree on and searching for pragmatic solutions to identified problems or any goals where there is opposition.

While we continue to fight to be allowed a sustainable tahr hunting resource, we are now facing down the barrel of a progressively reducing one, and this will begin to have an impact on hunters. The different hunting sectors will be forced to either compete or to work together. If we can achieve the latter, then we can prevent history repeating itself and secure our valued game resources for generations to come. This challenge is reflected in our focus for this year’s AGM; “improving
interorganisational cooperation and the Foundations functional capacity to enable active management of tahr for hunting and the environment.”

In the coming year we hope to see our shift from a reactive to proactive space really take hold and the activities of the NZTF grow exponentially. Our motto for the oncoming year is “Don’t just have a position, make a proposition.” Basically, if you have an opinion that something should be done or done better than we are currently managing to do, come to us with a proposal to do it or improve it. We are a small few doing a lot for the many, we are only volunteers, and we need all the help we can get.

Kaylyn Pinney, Chairperson 2021-2022

Tahr Foundation Annual Report 2021


Please take this opportunity to read about the work the Foundation management team have been doing on behalf of tahr hunters.
This has been a team effort with all the members contributing their time and energy over the past 12 months. I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone on the committee for all your help not only with the report but also with all the meetings, emails and phone calls that go into a years’ worth of advocating for tahr and tahr hunters.

We are in the very early stages of developing some hunter lead management of tahr in conjunction with the GAC and Doc. This is a good place to be right now, this is something we have aspired to be able to do. It is not something to be taken lightly however so we will be wanting to take small steps and learn to walk before we run. There will be opportunities for hunters to get involved and assist us further down the track so read what’s been happening and give some consideration to being part of what comes next. Be patient too, good things take time and its early days, I encourage you to have a read and see what you think.

Snow Hewetson Chair NZTF

Duke of Bedford Award

Duke of Bedford Award

The Tahr Foundation would like to announce the creation of a new trophy to be awarded at this year’s Sika Show.

The Trophy will be known as the New Zealand Tahr Foundation Duke of Bedford award in honour of the then Duke, Herbrand Arthur Russell who in 1904 graciously hand selected and presented the original tahr to New Zealand from his herd at Woburn Abby, Bedfordshire in England.

The primary focus of the Tahr Foundation in creating this new award is to encourage a more enlightened approach to the sport of trophy hunting.

With our currently reduced tahr population we want to see a shift to more emphasis on age when selecting a tahr trophy, consequently we have developed a new competition in which trophy tahr horns are scored for horn mass rather than just length of horn. The development of horn mass comes with age and an abundance of forage from a healthy environment.

Our primary objective has always been to have tahr managed under a proper game animal management regime, a Herd of Special Interest.

Such a management regime would produce the type of bull we all aspire to see in our mountains, this is the type of bull that will be rewarded under our new competition rules.

The competition is open to any bull 8 years of age and older.

In this first year the competition is open to any bull taken in the last two years from January 1st, 2020, thereafter it will be on a 12-month basis.

Horns are measured for length and girth at base, the length is then divided by 4 and girth is measured at each quarter, the total is the sum of all measurements.

Bulls with broken or broomed tips are not disadvantaged, a shorter tip will push the measurement at the quarters back into the thicker part of the horn, a bull of age will regain score by having a greater mass.

Please see our score card for the full rules and details of entry.

The tahr is a world class alpine game animal, we are both privileged and fortunate to have them and be able to hunt them here today over 100 years since they were introduced. We encourage hunters to respect both the tahr and the freedom we enjoy being able to hunt them, tahr are not feral goats to be treated as target practice. Shooting bulls without accessing them then measuring them on the ground is no longer acceptable.

A garage full of immature tahr heads does not represent a responsible attitude toward the resource. If we all spend more time observing tahr and less time pulling the trigger, then we have a better chance of holding onto the tahr and our ability to hunt them freely into the future.

The Tahr Foundation encourages anyone who has taken a big old trophy bull in last 2 years to come along and enter your trophy, entry fees are $30 per trophy and all proceeds go to Hunters for Conservation.

Tahr control operations more collaborative but tahr plan still needs updating

The Tahr Foundation is pleased that the 2021-2022 tahr control operational plan released indicates the Department of Conservation has utilised the knowledge and expertise of the hunting sector. The Tahr Foundation and other hunting organisations are trying to assist DOC target control work where it is needed most.

“Hunters are in the hills very regularly and often for extended periods,” says NZ Tahr Foundation Spokesperson Willie Duley.

“Following consecutive years of heavy culling, there are now huge variations in tahr population densities, even within the same management units. We have been able to provide DOC with information and maps that set out where tahr numbers are low and no culling is required and also where we think tahr numbers still need reducing.”

“Coupled with information from population surveys and control operations this provides a more current and comprehensive knowledge base so more informed decisions can be made each year. It simply comes down to killing the right tahr in the right place and we look forward to seeing our input included when the control operations commence”

Ongoing tahr management that gives priority to conserving our alpine vegetation whilst allowing sufficient tahr for recreational and commercial hunting is constrained by an out-of-date Himalayan Tahr Control Plan and legislation such as the National Parks Act.

The Himalayan Tahr Control Plan is acknowledged as being experimental and the population limits for tahr were set conservatively. The Tahr Foundation agrees with DOC’s approach of learning as we go as it is consistent with modern wildlife management techniques.

“In order to learn something, you need to make pragmatic changes and then monitor the result. We will be pushing for changes to target levels in order to find the balance between quality habitat and tahr numbers.” Duley says.

The Tahr Foundation still sees no sense in the targeting of bull tahr in National Parks as this requirement is based on ideology and not science.

“A low number of bull tahr in a National Park will have negligible effect on the environment but are highly prized by recreational and commercial hunters”

“The Tahr Foundation will continue to work cooperatively and collaboratively with DOC and the hunting sector but we need to make changes in order to move forward and arrive at a long-term plan so we have a healthy habitat and a huntable tahr herd for future generations” Duley says.



Willie Duley

027 3338424

2021-22 tahr plan reflects pragmatic management approach

NZ Game Animal Council

Media Statement                                                                          

10 May 2021

2021-22 tahr plan reflects pragmatic management approach

The Game Animal Council (GAC) is welcoming the release of the Himalayan Tahr Control Operational Plan 2021-2022 as a pragmatic approach to tahr management but remains committed to developing a long-term management programme for New Zealand’s tahr.

“The Game Animal Council has worked closely with the Department of Conservation and stakeholder groups in the development of this plan and provided constructive science-based recommendations to help inform it,” says General Manager Tim Gale. “We believe the more collaborative process the Department has embarked on has resulted in a better-balanced programme of tahr management for 2021-22.”

“The GAC is pleased to see the majority of control work will be concentrated on areas with remaining higher densities of tahr and which are extremely difficult to access for recreational hunters. Most of these areas are west of the divide where we know tahr can have significant conservation impacts.”

“For the more accessible eastern parts of the tahr range we continue to work towards greater hunter-led management that will enable official control work to concentrate on where it is most needed.”

Halfway through the control period the GAC and DOC will conduct a review to ensure remaining operations are appropriately targeted. Control operations will also avoid areas close to huts popular with hunters and working in proximity to any ground hunters encountered.

“There are aspects of the Plan that we recommended be changed, such as the priority to remove all recognisable male tahr from national parks,” says Gale.

“Attempting to eliminate the odd male tahr in the national parks is basically a waste of resources when the effort could be better spent controlling breeding animals in areas where tahr are having significant negative impacts on vegetation. However, outside of this the overall shape of the plan is pragmatic and proportional.”

“The GAC remains firmly of the view that the Department and stakeholders should be working towards a revised Himalayan Tahr Control Plan and a longer-term management programme that provides for better protection of the habitat, a viable tahr herd and quality hunting opportunities through aligning permitted tahr densities with the environmental capability of different locations.”

“This requires an investment in monitoring herd density and vegetation impacts across the tahr range, which, if done properly, will take a number of years to complete. The Game Animal Council and broader hunting community can play a significant role in these activities.”

“The longer we put off doing this work the longer we limp along relying on potentially divisive annual control programmes based around the Himalayan Thar Control Plan – a plan expressly set up as ‘experimental’ way back in 1993,” says Gale.

The Game Animal Council’s advice on the development of the Himalayan Tahr Control Operational Plan 2021-2022 is available at

The NZ Game Animal Council is a statutory organisation responsible for the sustainable management of game animals and hunting for recreation, commerce and conservation.


Tim Gale, General Manager
Phone: 021688531  

Tahr hunters contributing to kea conservation

Media Statement                                                                          

29 April 2021

Tahr hunters contributing to kea conservation

The NZ Tahr Foundation, Kea Conservation Trust and Game Animal Council have collaborated to develop the Tahr Ballot Kea Sightings Project.

With the annual tahr rut getting underway, tahr ballot block holders are being asked to record their kea sightings to help conserve kea in the central Southern Alps.

“Kea are a fantastic part of the mountain hunting experience in the Southern Alps, and given how much time tahr hunters spend in the backcountry they are ideally positioned to help monitor these special alpine parrots,” says NZ Tahr Foundation Scientific Advisor Kaylyn Pinney.

Each hunting party receives a Tahr Ballot Kea Sightings Project pamphlet along with the NZ Tahr Foundation’s tahr returns and information booklet at the helipad before being flown in to their ballot block. They are requested to record their kea sightings on the pamphlet and submit it along with their tahr returns in a dedicated box at the hanger following their flight out.

“This project will help provide valuable information to the kea database and ensure better management decisions are made for kea in the future,” says Tamsin Orr-Walker, Chair of the Kea Conservation Trust. “We know that kea are attracted to tahr carcasses and tahr hunters have a lot of interaction with the birds so this project is a really great way for them to help contribute information on kea ecology and behaviour.”

“Tahr hunters are really passionate about kea and many already do support kea conservation,” says Game Animal Council General Manager Tim Gale. “This project is a great example of how hunters, who spend long periods in the mountains, can contribute to achieve good outcomes for native species.”

The kea sightings pamphlet asks for detailed recordings including; sex, age, behaviour and if any leg bands are identifiable. Hunting parties are also provided information to help identify different kea. 

“A big thank you goes to the helicopter operators who have come on board to help facilitate the distribution and returns of both the kea sightings pamphlet and tahr returns booklet,” says Pinney. “It is this on-the-ground support that is so important to ensure the success of a project such as this.”

While the Tahr Ballot Kea Sightings Project is specific to tahr ballot holders, other hunters and members of the public are encouraged to report kea sightings at


Tahr Foundation Annual Report

Annual Report 2020


We have put together a brief report of the activities of the Foundation since our last AGM September 2019.
We hope you find our report informative; we want to be open and transparent about the activities of the Tahr Foundation and encourage you to take the time to read through the report.
We have had to rise to some big challenges this year, we have done that and met them head on.
We haven’t always achieved all that we would have wanted to, but we have always done our up most to protect our tahr and the sport of tahr hunting.
We hope this report will give all our supporters a better understanding of all that has involved.

Regards Snow Hewetson



1 September 2020


The NZ Tahr Foundation is very disappointed at DOC’s decision to press ahead with the majority of the 2020-21 Tahr Control Operational Plan and is also expressing concern over the integrity of DOC’s decision-making process.

“It’s really sad as there’s so much common ground between stakeholders with 90% of the recent submissions all on the same page. The opportunity existed for us all to work together and end the ongoing conflict, yet DOC has continued to play divide and conquer”

“DOC’s revised control plan is for the most part exactly the same as their original plan, the same amount of culling hours, still targeting eradication in National Parks, not science based and still ignoring critical parts of the Himalayan Tahr Control Plan 1993 which sets out how tahr should be properly managed”

“The Tahr Foundation’s submission contends that the Department’s determination to eradicate tahr from Aoraki/Mt Cook and Westland Tai Poutini National Parks is a needless waste for very little environmental gain.”

“The overall tahr population was heavily weighted towards mature bulls before this operation and as we know mature bulls have a very high natural mortality rate and are the key attraction to hunters. Culling them is a completely inefficient use of time and money.”

“Hunters agree to the continuation of nanny culls in high density locations and ecological hotspots, but it is a real slap in the face to see heavy culling in the most hunted areas of the national parks – particularly the Murchison Valley around Liebig and Steffan huts. There are far more inaccessible areas that should be targeted.”

“The Tahr Foundation firmly believes that managing a low population of tahr in Aoraki/Mt Cook and Westland Tai Poutini National Parks would still protect alpine ecosystems while allowing for a viable and valuable hunting resource. Instead DOC has effectively shut hunters out of these national parks.”

“Today’s decision not only impacts the thousands of recreational tahr hunters that love hunting in our national parks but it will adversely affect the guided hunting industry as well as the hunting retail, accommodation, travel and hospitality sectors and their local communities.”

There is also a legitimate concern that culling remaining nannies in already low-density areas will lead to population collapse, which is why the Game Animal Council provided information on where further management is required and where it isn’t.

“We hope that the Department is sincere in its commitment to consider the Game Animal Council’s advice on further control work on the management units outside the national parks.”

All hunters continue to support an increase in control work outside the feral range in order to make sure tahr don’t spread north or south.

When it comes to the integrity of the consultation process, the Tahr Foundation has been concerned at the public comments made by the Department during this consultation.

“Hunting sector submitters played by the rules and refrained from public commentary, as requested by the Department,” says Duley. “Yet DOC, despite being the decisionmaker, has gone public a number of times, and even had the audacity to do so the morning of the decision with an opinion piece published in The Spinoff,” says Duley.

“At the very least this risks accusation of prejudging the outcome when it comes to the national parks and shows a certain contempt for submitters, who have all participated in the process in good faith. Again, this reflects poorly on DOC and only works to further sour the relationship with the tahr hunting sector.”

“After recently celebrating all the fantastic work hunter-volunteers contribute to conservation projects around the country for ‘conservation week’, this decision really puts all of that great work the hunting community does for the benefit of native species in jeopardy. It’s a sad day indeed, not only for tahr, but for community led conservation projects and public land users.”

“We demand that DOC now partner with the Game Animal Council to take a sensible approach to management outside national parks and that all future management is based on a phased approach using sound science and proper consultation.”

“After being largely ignored by DOC throughout this consultation process, we will have to have a long hard look at the hunting sector’s relationship with the department going forward” says Duley.



CONTACT: Tahr Foundation spokesperson Willie Duley       027 333 8424


21 July 2020

“Statements from New Zealand Conservation Authority Chair Edward Ellison that imply tahr hunting is simply a niche tourism industry are highly inaccurate,” says the NZ Tahr Foundation.

“The 52,000 people that have signed the petition to halt the cull and the 1000 or so people that turned up at Aoraki/Mt Cook on Sunday should tell Mr Ellison that this is far from some niche tourism industry. Tahr mean a great deal to tens of thousands of New Zealanders,” says the Tahr Foundation’s Willie Duley.

“Aerial Assisted Trophy Hunting that Mr Ellison mentions, accounts for only a small minority of the tahr hunting that goes on in our national parks. While the commercial industry is important to many people’s livelihoods, the vast majority of tahr hunting is done by Kiwi recreational hunters who total 166,000 people.”

“Recreational hunters are not obliged to produce their tahr hunting returns, but from the large number of people that are transported in and out of the national parks during the peak of the season and the number of animals they bring out, we know that many hundreds of tahr are removed by recreational hunters.”

“To totally disregard this is, frankly, disingenuous.”

“The Game Animal Council alongside DOC recently released an App for recreational hunters to record and submit their tahr returns so that we can gain better data on exactly how many tahr are removed. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 lockdown and the current culling programme have undermined any chance that the project will be successful.”

“All stakeholders agree that DOC has never undertaken the research and monitoring of vegetation impacts and herd densities necessary to inform the appropriate management of tahr. This needs to be done as part of a thorough review of the out-of-date 1993 Himalayan Tahr Control Plan so we can put this almost-annual conflict behind us,” says Duley.

Tahr Foundation Spokesperson - Willie Duley: 0273338424 / /



17 July 2020


DOC have begun killing tahr in Aoraki/Mt Cook and Westland Tai Poutini National Parks before undertaking consultation with the hunting sector and it is another kick in the guts says the NZ Tahr Foundation.

The killing of bull tahr in Aoraki/Mt Cook and Westland Tai Poutini National Parks has always been the most controversial part of the culling programme.

“Mature bull tahr in our national parks are the ultimate recreational and commercial resource and worth up to $14,000 each to the economy so we are quite frustrated that DOC have chosen to do this part of the operation before consultation has begun,” says the Tahr Foundation’s Willie Duley.

“While we acknowledge that last week’s High Court decision gave DOC the right to begin culling before consultation, we hoped they would have given the hunting sector the chance to have a say before starting with the national parks.”

“Tahr hunters regard Aoraki/Mt Cook and Westland Tai Poutini National Parks as the pinnacle of the Kiwi alpine hunting experience. To have this taken away without even being consulted is a very bitter pill to swallow.”

“Contrary to what DOC claims, there is no conservation imperative for this, especially to target bulls as the bulls don’t have kids. This will have a far bigger impact on peoples’ livelihoods than what DOC are suggesting. They have not even considered the effects on the huge recreational hunting sector and the retail industries that rely on it”

“It would have been an act of good faith for DOC to have prioritised the control work outside the feral range that all stakeholders agree needs to happen. That is uncontroversial and vital to preventing tahr spreading to surrounding landscapes,” says Duley.

“We are also worried that many recreational tahr hunters and other backcountry users currently in the mountains are unaware DOC have restarted their helicopter culling operations. We have had contact with local operators that have hunters potentially in close proximity to tahr in and around the national parks, that are concerned at the safety risk this presents.”
DOC’s restarting of culling operations brings into stark focus just how important it is that the long-out-of-date 1993 Himalayan Tahr Control Plan is reviewed and an acceptable long-term management strategy put in place.

“I’m sure I can speak for all stakeholders when I say we are sick of the almost annual conflict that the 1993 Plan and DOC’s failure to review it has created,” says Duley.

“The 1993 Plan was put in place as a best-guess at a time when little information was really known about tahr in our alpine environment. The intention stated within the Plan was for it to be reviewed and updated as more science and information was developed.”

“DOC have never undertaken the proper research on vegetation impacts, herd densities and the contributions of recreational and commercial hunting that are necessary to inform future management. Instead they focus on short-term culling programmes like what is happening right now that pit the various stakeholders against each other.”

“The reality is that there is a huge amount of common ground among stakeholders. We all agree that tahr must be eradicated outside their feral range, we all accept that some form of management is required and yet we also know that tahr are an extremely precious recreational and commercial resource,” says Duley. 

“Those are solid foundations to build an enduring management regime upon.”
Over 50,000 people have signed the Tahr Foundation’s petition calling for a halt to the cull and hundreds are expected at the hunter-led Tahr Jam protest drive from Lake Pukaki to Aoraki/Mt Cook on Sunday. 



Tahr Foundation Spokesperson - Willie Duley: 0273338424 /

Tahr Foundation President – Snow Hewetson: 0274122772




12 July 2020


The Tahr Foundation has released a short video that shows just what Himalayan tahr mean to Kiwis and why so many people are fighting so hard to maintain them in New Zealand.

The video is a powerful reminder of the extent that tahr are now woven into the fabric of everyday New Zealand life. 
New Zealand’s Tahr – They Are Us is available at 

“From people that work in the hunting industry and make a living from these animals to those from all other walks of life that just love spending time in the mountains amongst them, this video shows just how much tahr mean to so many Kiwis,” says Tahr Foundation Spokesperson Willie Duley. 

“For the professional and recreational hunters, climbers, trampers, school teachers, sportsmen, helicopter operators and families that appear in this video, tahr not only enhance their experience in the mountains but in many cases are the reason for it.”

“We also want to see tahr properly managed and our alpine flora and fauna preserved because those of us who love the mountain environment and spend so much of our time there have the greatest stake in looking after it.” 

“Despite our win in the High Court which confirmed DOC had not properly consulted with us, it is still extremely disappointing that they have been allowed to carry on in the interim with 125 hours of culling and the eradication of all tahr including bulls in Aoraki/Mt Cook and Westland Tai Poutini National Parks.”

“This interim culling still has the potential to decimate the tahr resource and the livelihoods of thousands, which is exactly what we have been fighting against and will continue to do so until an agreement is reached” says Duley.

“We feel the Minister and DOC are riding rough-shod over those of us with an interest in tahr, and the people that appear in this video and the near 50,000 others that have signed our petition are asking that their voice be heard.”

“It’s time this almost annual conflict was ended, and we’re given the opportunity to sit down with all stakeholders and constructively work together.” 

“The Tahr Foundation wants to work with DOC and the Game Animal Council to come up with an enduring management strategy that fits with the realities of modern New Zealand and will work for both recreation and conservation. This is neither impossible nor too much to ask.” 



Tahr Foundation Spokesperson - Willie Duley: 0273338424 / 

Tahr Foundation President – Snow Hewetson: 0274122772



10 July 2020


The Professional Hunting Guides Association is welcoming the High Court decision on DoC’s controversial tahr campaign.

The High Court in Wellington was asked on Wednesday by the Tahr Foundation for a judicial review of DoC’s plan to kill thousands of Himalayan Tahr in the Southern Alps.

In a decision released this afternoon, the court ruled in the Tahr Foundation’s favour over the lack of consultation with hunting groups.

Professional Hunting Guides Association president James Cagney says the decision is a huge relief.

“Allowing DoC to go ahead with its plan would have been a body blow for our industry and threatened hundreds of businesses and jobs which rely heavily on hunting tahr to survive,” Mr Cagney says.

“Tahr hunting pumps tens of millions of dollars into our remote rural communities every year and DoC was going to remove that much-needed income, just when we needed it most because of the Covid crisis.

“We are pleased common-sense has prevailed.”

James Cagney says what is needed now is to DoC to properly consult with the hunting sector.

“We have had enough of court cases.  It would have been much easier for DoC to sit down with us in the first place and recreational hunters and agree on a workable plan to reduce tahr numbers and properly manage this unique herd,” he says.

“These animals are worth tens of millions of dollars to our economy and livelihoods and support small businesses and hundreds of individual jobs. 

“It is not right for a government organisation to unthinkingly wipe out these jobs without any consideration.  The South Island has already suffered enough from job losses this week with news of the Tiwai Smelter closure.  We don’t need any more misery.”



Professional Hunting Guides Association president James Cagney    027 450 7280



10 July 2020


The Tahr Foundation is welcoming the High Court decision halting DOC’s controversial plan to kill thousands of tahr through the Southern Alps.

The Foundation asked the High Court for a judicial review of DOC’s plan to exterminate all Himalayan Tahr in national parks and sharply reduce tahr populations in other areas.

The application was heard in the High Court in Wellington on Wednesday and Justice Dobson has just released his decision this afternoon.

In the decision, Justice Dobson says that DOC is to reconsider its decision to proceed with the 2020-2021 plan after consulting with interests represented by the Foundation and other stakeholders.

Until consultation and a further decision have been completed, DOC can only undertake half of the 250 hours provided for in the 2020-2021 plan.

Tahr Foundation Spokesman Willie Duley is welcoming the decision as a victory for common sense.

“This is a landmark decision.  It recognised the considerable gaps in DOC’s process, the lack of consideration for stakeholders affected and will stop the decimation of the tahr herd and save jobs,” Willie Duley says.

“Just as importantly, Justice Dobson recognised that recreational hunters are legitimate stakeholders and have the right to not only be properly consulted by DOC, but also have their views properly considered.”

“DOC tried to ride roughshod over the commercial and recreational hunting sector and their token consultation was a sham.” 

“If they had been allowed to get away with this, future consultation on any issue would have become meaningless and that has serious implications for all conservation stakeholders and outdoor recreation groups.”

He says public support to stop DOC’s cull is soaring.

“The petition to stop DOC going ahead with the tahr kill is approaching 50,000 signatures while the Give a Little campaign has raised $135,000.  It shows the depth of feeling there is against this senseless slaughter.” 

Willie Duley says in the wake of the High Court decision, the Tahr Foundation is offering to work with DOC and the Game Animal Council, the statutory body responsible for game animals like tahr, to come up with a suitable tahr management plan.

“We have always accepted the need to properly manage tahr numbers and recreational hunters have made a huge contribution to reducing populations, even though DOC refused in court to acknowledge that,” Willie Duley says.

“Hundreds of jobs and a multi-million-dollar industry rely on tahr, let alone the recreational aspirations of tens of thousands of recreational hunters.”

“We just want to be listened to and are happy to sit down with DOC, the Game Animal Council and others to thrash out a workable tahr management plan.”



Tahr Foundation Spokesperson - Willie Duley: 0273338424 /

Tahr Foundation President – Snow Hewetson: 0274122772

Tahr Foundation day in court

On behalf of all New Zealand hunters, the NZ Tahr Foundation went to the High Court in Wellington yesterday for a judicial review of DOC's plans to mount a determined effort to radically reduce tahr numbers in the Southern Alps, including exterminating them in National Parks.

The case attracted considerable media and public attention and there was standing room only in the public gallery when the case started, with extra seats having to be brought in to accommodate the numbers. Those attending included the hunting community, with guides, the NZ Tahr Foundation, Deerstalkers Association and individual hunters all present.

The case was heard by Justice Dobson, with the Tahr Foundation's legal team headed by QC Jack Hodder.

Mr Hodder told the court that DOC's 2020-21 operational plan was unlawful and unfair and that hunters had not been properly consulted.

He said it would have an adverse impact on the guiding sector of the tourism industry and the plan should be quashed.

He asked that the number of tahr DOC wants to kill should be reconsidered and the hunting sector properly consulted.

DOC's case was argued by David Laurenson QC who downplayed the contribution recreational hunters make to control tahr numbers and said that the National Parks Act required DOC to exterminate tahr within National Parks.

Justice Dobson quizzed both legal teams, asking for greater explanation of their claims. The case ran the whole day and Justice Dobson reserved his decision.

He is expected to deliver it by next week, possibly as early as this Friday evening.

Meanwhile, support for the Tahr Petition continues to grow, with the number of people who have signed now approaching 50,000.

If you haven't signed, go here now and add your signature to the growing list (note - don't donate here).…

And while you are at it, consider contributing to the Give A Little campaign so we can continue the fight to save these magnificent game animals. To throw a few dollars in the pot, click this link;

To highlight the issue, a peaceful protest is being planned in the heart of tahr country next weekend and the event is already getting media publicity; .…/hundreds-expected-to-join-convoy-…




5 July 2020

For Immediate Use

The campaign to stop the Department of Conservation exterminating tahr in national parks is gathering increasing public support, with nearly 40,000 people signing the petition calling for a halt to DOC’s plans.

The petition was started on Monday evening, shortly after revelations the Department of Conservation was planning a mass killing of thousands of tahr through the Southern Alps, including all animals in national parks.

The petition asks DOC “to halt the 2020-21 tahr cull and review the Himalayan Tahr Control Plan.”

The public is also contributing significantly to the Give A Little campaign to raise funds to fight the DOC plan, with nearly $70,000 raised so far.

Tahr Foundation spokesperson Willie Duley says the response is gratifying.

“Gathering 40,000 signatures in less than a week is terrific – the number of people signing just keeps growing and shows the very real opposition out there to DOC’s plans,” he says.

“Tourism operators are also opposing the mass kill because they stand to lose significant income just when they need it most because of the Covid crisis.

“More than 500 jobs and the futures of 160 businesses are on the line because of DOC’s short-sighted plan, and those operators need government help to save those jobs.”

Willie Duley says donations are also flooding in to the Give A Little page set up to help fund the Tahr Foundation’s legal battle to protect tahr, with nearly $70,000 raised so far.

The High Court will this week hear a Tahr Foundation application for an interim injunction to stop DOC’s mass tahr kill.

The application will be heard on Wednesday in the High Court in Wellington.



Tahr Foundation spokesperson

Willie Duley: +64273338424 /

Link to Change.Org petition to save the Tahr

Link to Give A Little Page




3 July 2020

For Immediate Use

The Tahr Foundation is asking the Conservation Authority to represent all New Zealanders and their recreational pursuits in National Parks, including the tens of thousands of hunters who flock to them every year.

The Foundation’s plea is in response to the Conservation Authority’s decision to come out in support of DOC’s controversial plan to exterminate Himalayan tahr in national parks.

But Tahr Foundation spokesperson Willie Duley says tahr were living in the mountains before national parks like Aoraki/Mount Cook were created and exterminating them conflicts with the Authority’s role to protect our cultural heritage.

“The Authority is supposed to balance recreation and conservation and its mission statement makes it clear that its role is to ensure that our cultural heritage is valued, restored, maintained, and cared for,” Mr Duley says. 

“Hunting is very much part of this country’s cultural fabric and heritage, and we want them to ensure it continues, especially in national parks” Mr Duley says.

“National parks are important to hunters.  Every year, thousands visit them to hunt and enjoy their magnificent scenery. 

“If the Conservation Authority wants a true picture of our numbers and feelings, have a look at the petition calling for a halt to the tahr extermination plan which has now soared past 30,000 signatures.

“This clearly shows hunters are significant recreational users of national parks and key stakeholders, yet our views are being ignored and our rights trampled,”

Willie Duley is also correcting claims the Conservation Authority is making about tahr.

“We respect the Conservation Authority for its vital role as a kaitiaki so it is disappointing that such an important organisation is using misleading figures and making incorrect claims and accusations to bolster its argument,” Willie Duley says.

“There are not 35,000 tahr roaming our mountains – that figure is out of date and is based on populations before the major culling operations took place.  The cull has cut numbers to 20,000 tahr of which only 5,000 are nannies or breeders.  Those are the figures that should be used in this debate,” he says.

“And the Authority’s claims that herds of hundreds of tahr can be seen roaming the countryside just leaves me flabbergasted.  I spend over a hundred days a year in the mountains filming, exploring and hunting and I have never seen such herds.”

“We support the proper management of tahr numbers and invite the Conservation Authority to properly engage with us as key stakeholders and work out a solution that doesn’t involve demonising hunters and tahr.”



Tahr Foundation spokesperson

Willie Duley: +64273338424 /

Link to Change.Org petition to save the Tahr

Link to Give A Little Page



Tahr Foundation Media Release


2 July 2020


Tens of thousands of New Zealanders are signing a petition to stop DOC’s plans for a mass killing of tahr in the Southern Alps.

The petition was started on Monday evening, shortly after revelations the Department of Conservation was planning a mass killing of thousands of tahr, including all animals in national parks.

The petition asks DOC “to halt the 2020-21 tahr cull and review the Himalayan Tahr Control Plan.”

Tahr Foundation spokesperson Willie Duley says the reaction to the petition is overwhelming.

“This is an amazing response – the petition got more than 20,000 signatures in the first 24 hours.  And the figures just keep going up – overnight, people kept signing and this morning the total is nearing 30,000.”

“This level of support from tens of thousands of people shows the depth of feeling there is about DOC’s plans and the wide opposition that exists to the planned decimation of this highly valuable herd.”

“It also demonstrates the huge respect and admiration people have for these magnificent wild animals,” Willie Duley says.

DOC put its tahr kill plan into effect yesterday, but the Tahr Foundation has gone to the High Court asking for an interim injunction to stop the extermination campaign.

The Tahr Foundation has also started a Give A Little page for people to donate money to help fund the legal battle and Willie Duley says that has also seen a good response with $29,000 donated in just two days.

“Tahr are highly valued and people don’t want to see them wiped out.  They are prepared to open their wallets and assist us pay for legal help to stop DOC and we are hugely grateful for that generosity,” he says.

“DOC’s plan is extreme and just not necessary.  In the last two years, the number of tahr living in the alps has been nearly halved from 35,000 to 20,000.  Of those left, only 5,000 are breeding nannies so the impact on the environment has been significantly reduced.”



Tahr Foundation spokesperson

Willie Duley: +64273338424 /

Link to Change.Org petition to save the Tahr

Link to Give A Little Page


Media Release – Professional Hunting Guides Association


2 July 2020

For immediate release

Tourism industry operators are pleading for the government to halt DoC’s plan for a mass killing of Himalayan Tahr, saying the animals provide hundreds of jobs and a multi-million dollar benefit to the country.

Under a controversial 2020-21 plan which came into effect yesterday, DoC will significantly increase the number of tahr it kills, including exterminating all animals in national parks.

The Tahr Foundation has asked the High Court for an injunction to stop DoC going ahead with the mass slaughter.

Tahr hunting makes a highly valuable contribution to the South Island economy, bringing in tens of millions of tourist dollars every year.  The industry sustains hundreds of local jobs, including guides, accommodation and helicopter operators and retailers.

The Professional Hunting Guides Association says its members are shocked by DoC’s decision to kill much of the tahr resource they rely on.

Guides Association President James Cagney says the news has sent them reeling.

“This plan is a real blow.  It would effectively decimate the tahr population in the Southern Alps and if successful will throw hundreds of people out of work,” Mr Cagney says.

“What DoC is planning couldn’t have come at a worse time.  The Covid pandemic has already hit our industry hard and now with no disclosure of the draft plan during consultation, DoC is going to make things even worse.

“We wanted help from the government to see us through this rough patch but instead what we have got are plans to decimate our livelihood,” he says.

James Cagney says the Guides’ Association will be writing to the Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis, the Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Employment Minister Willie Jackson asking for help.

“Tourism is our lifeblood and we need help to stop this plan to ensure that a viable tahr resource remains when our booked and rescheduled international hunting clients return when the borders reopen and save hundreds of jobs,” Mr Cagney says.


“Mr Robertson is also the Minister for Recreation, so he can help on that front too because thousands of New Zealanders go tahr hunting every year.  If DoC is allowed to go ahead with its tahr killing plan, that source of healthy recreation will be eliminated along with the tahr.”

The Guides Association says they will also be asking Tourism New Zealand and Tourism Industry Aotearoa for help to preserve their industry.



Professional Hunting Guides Association President James Cagney  0274507280




1 JULY 2020


The Tahr Foundation is condemning the Department of Conservation for what it describes as DOC’s “sham consultation” over plans to kill thousands of Himalayan tahr.

DOC’s kill operation is due to start today but the final version of its plan was only released just before midnight, minutes before it came into force. The plan confirms that DOC aims to exterminate tahr from national parks and kill thousands more through the Southern Alps.

The Tahr Foundation says that is outrageous and confirms that the already suspect consultation process was a farce.

Foundation spokesperson Willie Duley says DOC’s tactics are cynical.

“This is a slap in the face for the outdoor community.  We were already upset that DOC dumped the original plan on us without notice and limited the consultation to two days,” Mr Duley says.

“To then drop the final unchanged plan on us minutes before it was due to come into force is unacceptable and proves the so-called consultation was nothing more than a scam designed to exploit our goodwill.

“DOC’s actions are an abuse of good faith.”

Willie Duley warns that there will be a backlash over DOC’s actions.

“The whole hunting community is incredibly angry over what DOC is doing.  We are supposed to be stakeholders and have already proved our willingness to work with DOC, yet that collaborative approach is being thrown back in our faces,” he says.

“This betrayal just confirms that DOC has been developing an extermination policy behind our backs.  What’s worse is they have been misleading the public by deliberately using false tahr population numbers to try and justify what they are doing.”

The Tahr Foundation says it now even more determined to challenge DOC’s actions in court.

“We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the outdoor community donating money to fund our fight. We owe it every donor to challenge this outrageous and underhanded decision in the courts,” Mr Duley says.



Tahr Foundation spokesperson

Willie Duley: +64273338424 /   

DOC announces tahr cull at eleventh hour

NZ Game Animal CouncilNZGAC

Media Statement                                                       

1 July 2020

DOC announces tahr cull at eleventh hour

The Game Animal Council is extremely disappointed at DOC’s failure to carry out meaningful consultation with the hunting sector when it comes to managing tahr. 

“We, along with other members of the Tahr Plan Implementation Liaison Group, received the final Tahr Control Plan from DOC at 11.03pm last night, just hours before operations were due to start,” says Game Animal Council Chair Don Hammond.

“Only 2 days was provided for consultation. The final plan being released minutes before it comes into effect and with almost no change from the original version indicates a pre-determined outcome and the hunting sector was not intended to be part of the Plan development process.”

“It is therefore not surprising that the Tahr Foundation have sought intervention from the courts.”

The final Plan includes triple the amount of helicopter culling within the feral range along with the removal of all tahr, including mature bulls, from Aoraki/Mt Cook and Westland Tai Poutini National Parks.

“If the operations are completed, they will devastate tahr hunting in New Zealand,” says Hammond.

The Plan also states that DOC will work with stakeholders to develop a research and monitoring programme.

“They have been telling us of the need for a plan for research and monitoring for two years now and nothing has happened,” says Hammond. “While development of a plan for research is vital, it is the implementation phase of that plan that needs to get underway urgently. The risk is further delays will mean there are very few tahr left to monitor anyway.”

“This will have huge impacts on both the recreational and commercial hunting sectors just when we need all the jobs we can muster.” 

“It is a sad day, not just for hunting in New Zealand, but also for the principle of proper consultation by government agencies.”


Don Hammond
Phone 0274885940

Disingenuous figures deliberate attempt to mislead public on tahr

New Zealand Tahr Foundation

Media Statement

30 June 2020

Disingenuous figures deliberate attempt to mislead public on tahr

The Tahr Foundation says it is extremely disappointed supporters of the plan to decimate tahr herds are misleading the public by deliberately using out of date tahr population figures.

The Tahr Foundation has applied for a High Court injunction to halt the Minister of Conservation’s plan to decimate New Zealand’s remaining tahr herd.

The mass kill is due to start on 1 July.

Foundation spokesperson Willie Duley says Forest and Bird are being disingenuous by continuing to use out-dated figures to back the killing.

Willie Duley says despite knowing better, our opponents are persisting with their claims that there are 35,000 tahr on public conservation land.

“That just isn’t true,” says Mr Duley.

“That figure dates back to 2018. Since then, hunters have stepped in and helped DOC reduce tahr numbers to an estimated total of 20,000 animals with a breeding nanny population of only around 5,000.” 

Willie Duley says Forest and Bird are well aware of this significant reduction in the tahr herd but continue to use the outdated figures to strengthen their case.

“The Tahr Foundation respects Forest and Bird and the good work it does helping to conserve New Zealand’s indigenous species, but we cannot let this kind of misinformation go unchallenged.”

“It is an attempt to totally mislead New Zealanders by peddling numbers that no longer exist.” 

“We want to see future tahr management based on sound science, the facts and taking into account the values of all stakeholders,” says Mr Duley.

NZ Tahr Foundation contact:

Willie Duley: +64273338424 / 


Press Release



JUNE 29th 2020


Hunters are asking the High Court for an urgent injunction to stop the Department of Conservation going ahead with a new plan to kill highly valued Himalayan bull tahr in national parks and other areas of the Southern Alps

The application for an injunction was filed in the High Court in Wellington on Friday of last week.

DoC’s new plan is due to come into force on July 1 and would target all tahr including mature bulls in national parks.  It would also triple the number of helicopter hours being funded to kill all tahr wherever they range.

Until now, the tahr control plan previously agreed with hunters has only killed female and juvenile tahr.

The Tahr Foundation says DoC’s plan is unacceptable and it has been left no choice but to go to court to try and stop it being implemented.

 “Tahr are magnificent animals but they will be decimated if DoC is allowed to go ahead with a control plan of this magnitude.  There will effectively be no tahr resource left in national parks,” says Tahr Foundation spokesperson Willie Duley.

“DoC’s plan has been drawn up without involving hunters and then at the last minute, we have been given just two days to look at it,” he says.

“This is not proper consultation - it is a token effort.  Hunters are key stakeholders in this process and we want the courtesy of DoC engaging with us in good faith.

“We know tahr numbers need to be managed, and in the last three years, we have collectively reduced herd numbers by over 18,000 animals,” Mr Duley says.

“The benefit of this approach is that DoC achieved the agreed reduction in tahr numbers thanks to good stakeholder involvement, and hunters actively helped reduce herd numbers saving the taxpayer purse.”

Willie Duley says in 1993, the Himalayan Thar Control Plan set an introductory herd limit of 10,000 tahr and also required ongoing reviews and scientific research.

“The Plan required DoC to scientifically establish the number of tahr which did not exceed acceptable levels of browse, while still providing a viable hunting resource. Over the last 27 years, they have never done this, nor reviewed the Plan as is also required,” he says.

“Until this is done, we will continue to have this ongoing conflict between stakeholders.”

Willie Duley says tahr are highly valued by hunters and make a significant economic contribution to South Island regions where they live.

“Tahr are magnificent animals, living in fantastic scenic locations.  They are a treasure, a holy grail for kiwi hunters who respect them and want the chance to pursue them,” he says.

“These hunters make a valuable contribution to South Island businesses.  Covid-19 has hit these businesses hard. With tourist hunting at a standstill, the money kiwi tahr hunters are injecting into the local economy is keeping these operations going and saving jobs.”

The Tahr Foundation was established in 2016 to ensure tahr are properly managed and to represent hunters’ interests. 

The Himalayan Tahr is near threatened in its homeland and the herd in New Zealand is the only significant and readily huntable free range population outside the Himalayan Mountains.



Willie Duley: +64273338424 /



Tahr Liaison Group update


  • Recreational hunting
    • The recreational hunting returns on the DOC website as at 8 April 2019 are shown in the table below.

Tahr Returns April 2019

    • Following the Tahr Liaison Group meeting in March the Tahr Foundation and DOC facilitated five groups to undertake recreational hunting in South Westland (as a result from the opportunity being discussed at the meeting).  Work is underway on how these opportunities could be extended in the future.
    • The Tahr Foundation, NZDA and GAC are working together on a verification approach for recreational hunting.  The purpose of that work has been agreed as ‘to provide an assessment of publicly available hunting apps that could be trialled by recreational hunters to record tahr kills’.
  • Tahr research and monitoring
    • Tahr Liaison Group members have been invited to the GAC and DOC hosted workshop on 9 May.  The purpose of the workshop is ‘To identify the key research and monitoring questions for effectively implementing the 1993 Himalayan Thar Control Plan: What do we know and what do we need to know about?’.  Reminder to please respond to both Geoff Kerr and James Holborow on attendance.
    • The Department has commissioned a short report from Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research to support context setting at that workshop – the purpose is ‘To provide a concise overview of the current state of tahr knowledge’. Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research may be in touch with some of you for information to support their work.
  • DOC tahr control
    • The Department has commenced work in the Northern exclusion zone – where judas tahr have been a key tool in that control work. DOC work from now through to the end of June will concentrate on the Northern and Southern Exclusion zones and other pockets of animals beyond the defined feral range – important work to prevent range expansion.
    • No DOC control has been undertaken in the management units since the announcement of the tahr programme recommencing (and will not until 1 July). I have heard of anecdotal reports of some helicopter hunting - any activity in the management units will be from AATH operators or Zero Invasive Predators undertaking tahr recovery (limited numbers of tahr as advised at the Tahr Liaison Group meeting).
    • The majority of the 10,000 tahr to be controlled by 30 August 2019 will occur over July and August 2019. DOC has been working on the detail of that, which may include tahr control from a range of known and potential sources (i.e., organised recreational hunting; AATH trophies; AATH offsets; tahr carcass recovery – WARO; contract control; and DOC control).
  • Vegetation report
    • At the Tahr Liaison Group meeting it was noted that a report on ‘ Potential of Tier One and alternative monitoring networks to assess the ecological integrity of alpine vegetation exposed to tahr grazing’ had been completed. I was waiting on the development of a summary report and factsheet – this will be available next week (slightly later than I had hoped).  I will provide copies to the Tahr Liaison Group of the three documents next week – they will also be useful context for the research and monitoring workshop.
  • Post 30 August 2019
    • As previously stated the Department will lead a process for the development of the approach for tahr management post 30 August 2019. We will certainly be working with the Tahr Liaison Group as part of that – more detail on how we can work together on this to come shortly.
  • Tahr abundance monitoring
    • As outlined at the Tahr Liaison Group meeting aerial surveys have been undertaken over the last 6 weeks across public conservation land. LINZ and DOC are working with crown pastoral leaseholders to undertake aerial surveys on crown pastoral land.

1080 pest control on tahr populations research.

Game Animal Council and Zero Invasive Predators joint research project into the effects of 1080 pest control on tahr populations.

On Saturday 13 April, during the initial stages of toxic baiting, 14 radio-tagged tahr, were present in the operational area. Further rounds of Sky Ranger monitoring were carried out, on Tuesday 16, Thursday 18, and Monday 22 April. All 14 tahr were found alive in the operational area during each round of post-toxin monitoring.

For further information please go to:

Press Release - Hunters stand up but won’t be counted

NZ Tahr Foundation
Media Statement

7 March 2019


Hunters stand up but won’t be counted

Following the halt to the Department of Conservation’s tahr control operations in October last year recreational hunters have taken up the charge and removed a large number of tahr with approximately 1000 having been registered on the DOC website.

“The decision by the Department of Conservation to ignore the efforts of recreational hunters in removing a large number of tahr from the Southern Alps is very disappointing” said Snow Hewetson spokesperson for the NZ Tahr Foundation.

DOC requested that hunters log the tahr killed on their website specifically set up for this purpose and hunters have done as instructed, but these kills will now not be counted in the total of 10,000 tahr to be culled prior to the end of August this year. “This is slap in the face for the many recreational hunters who, at their own cost, got out in the mountains and killed tahr. Despite this we still want all hunters to continue their good work and log their kills on the website.”

The NZ Tahr Foundation worked cooperatively and in good faith with DOC through the Tahr Liaison Group process to arrive at a plan for removing 10,000 tahr even though the actual tahr population on public land is unknown with the best estimate being between 24,000 and 48,000. At the recent Tahr Liaison Group meeting recreational hunters, hunting guides and WARO reaffirmed their commitment to remove as many tahr as they can to assist DOC.

Southern Alps Meats put a proposal to DOC to shoot all the required tahr and recover the carcasses of as many as possible for the export market. Southern Alps meats has recovered and processed approximately 2000 tahr in the last 2 years at zero cost to the tax payer. They include some of New Zealand’s most experienced helicopter hunters operating from Kaikoura to Te Anau. The company would turn animals that would otherwise be left to rot into export meat from New Zealand’s Southern Alps. The New Zealand Tahr foundation would like to see the Department work with these operators and recover as many tahr as possible.

“DOC has stated publicly that they are committed to working with the recreational and commercial hunting sector to achieve the 10,000 total. We want to see that commitment actually put into practise and we will be monitoring closely what DOC does going forward” said Snow Hewetson.

Snow Hewetson
Spokesperson NZ Tahr Foundation
Tel: 0274122772