Wairau Lagoons bird hunting
IntroductionThe Wairau Lagoons are about 2,000 ha of saline marsh and mudflats between the Wairau River mouth and the Vernon Estate to the south.
Permits and licences you need
To hunt waterfowl you require:
- a Fish & Game New Zealand game bird licence obtainable from sports shops, Fish & Game New Zealand or go to the Fish & Game website
- a DOC game bird hunting permit.
How to get a DOC game bird hunting permit
Email Nelson/Marlborough Fish & Game email@example.com with these details:
- full name
- residential address
- phone number
- email address
- Fish & Game licence number.
If you also require a dog permit, include these details about your dog:
- current council registration number.
Duck shooting season will open from Saturday 6 May 2023 closing Sunday 30 July 2023 – this includes swans (season 1).
Season 2 for swans will open on Saturday 12 August 2023 and close on Sunday 27 August 2023.
Identify your target
During the autumn and winter months the predominant species in the lagoons are game birds but protected species will also be seen during the open game season.
The protected grey teal population is increasing, and hunters must take care to positively identify their target.
From the end of Hardings Road, or off Redwood Pass Road. Apply to the Blenheim or Richmond office for gate code (via permit only with strict access conditions
Apply to Marlborough Field Officer Vaughan Lynn for gate code and access rules.
Vaughan Lynn: firstname.lastname@example.org / +64 27 222 5928
From the Wairau Bar.
Know before you go
- Mud in some areas can be very deep and care should be taken in unfamiliar areas.
- Besides the obvious main channels in the northern part of the lagoons, and Te Aropipi Channel which runs along inside the seaward Boulder Bank, few parts of the lagoons are more than 1 m deep.
- The water is brackish, and shotguns require careful cleaning.
- Fresh water should be taken for gun dogs.
Code of conduct
The former wildlife refuge status over Big Lagoon has been lifted to provide additional hunting opportunities. The retention of this new hunting area will depend on the behaviour of hunters and adherence to the following code of conduct:
- Fixed shooting stands above mean high water springs only.
- Moored floating stands 200 m from any other marked stand.
- No plant material to be used for maimai cover due to the likely hood of dropping weed seeds
- No disturbance to archaeological sites, artefacts or native plants.
- No litter including spent cartridges.
- Wheeled vehicles restricted to formed roads.
- All boats restricted to five knots.
- No dogs other than trained retrievers during the open game season.