Wildlife Act 1953

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Wildlife Act 1953
Coat of arms of New Zealand.svg
New Zealand Parliament
An Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to the protection and control of wild animals and birds, the regulation of game shooting seasons, and the constitution and powers of acclimatisation societies
Status: Current legislation

Wildlife Act 1953 is an Act of Parliament in New Zealand.

Under the Act, the majority of native New Zealand vertebrate species are protected by law, and may not be hunted, killed, eaten or possessed. Violations may be punished with fines of up to $100,000.

Wildlife are classified under a number of schedules; all vertebrate species not included in these lists are protected by default. The schedules are periodically amended; for example the kea was granted full protection in 1984, whereas the spur-winged plover (masked lapwing), an Australian species which naturally established itself in New Zealand in the 1930s, had its protected status removed in 2012.


Schedule 1 - Wildlife declared to be game[edit]

This group comprises commonly hunted waterfowl (mallard, grey duck, Australasian shoveler, paradise shelduck, black swan and pukeko) and introduced game birds, including pheasant, quail, chukar and partridge. These birds may be hunted during the open season, which begins in early May and lasts approximately four weeks.

Schedule 2 - Partially protected wildlife[edit]

This group comprises only the little owl and silvereye; it formerly included the kea, which has been blamed for attacking sheep, but is now considered endangered.[1] These birds may be shot by land owners if they pose a threat to crops or livestock, without any need for a permit from the Department of Conversation.

Schedule 3 - Wildlife that may be hunted or killed subject to Minister's notification[edit]

These may be culled on application to the Department of Conservation, subject to whatever restrictions are imposed. This group includes the Australasian harrier, grey teal, grey-faced petrel, mute swan, black shag, little shag, pied shag and sooty shearwater.

Schedule 4 - Wildlife not protected, except in areas and during periods specified in Minister's notification[edit]

This group formerly consisted of wild horses, which had some degree of protection in the Kaimanawa range, but is now obsolete.

Schedule 5 - Wildlife not protected[edit]

This is a large group including many common domestic and introduced species, many of which are regarded as pests. The only species on this list which occur naturally in New Zealand are the southern black-backed gull and the spur-winged plover (masked lapwing), both of which present a significant risk of bird strike.

Schedule 6 - Animals declared to be noxious animals subject to the Noxious Animals Act 1956[edit]

This group consists of chamois, goat, tahr, feral pig and several species of deer. All are considered harmful to New Zealand's native forests and may be hunted without restriction.

Schedule 7 - Terrestrial and freshwater invertebrates declared to be animals[edit]

Under the original legislation, the word "animal" referred only to land-based vertebrates. Schedule 7 was added to give protected status to a number of native invertebrates, some of them endangered, including some species of native grasshopper, weevil, weta, two species of katipo spider and powelliphanta snails.

Schedule 7A - Marine species declared to be animals[edit]

Similarly, this list gives protected status to a number of marine species, including several species of coral, several sharks and a few fish species.


  1. ^ Colin Miskelly. "Kea". NZ Birds Online. 

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