Game estates

Learn about the requirements you need to meet if you operate a game estate used for recreational hunting.


Game estate operators must comply with the Animal Products Act 1999. Game estates primarily serve as managed hunting estates for paying customers, often trophy hunters coming to New Zealand from overseas.

On rare occasions when animal numbers are too high, culls can be arranged and the culled animals can be supplied to processing plants. Client hunters may also want to take away edible parts of animals they kill on an estate when they leave. These activities are permissible if the correct processes have been followed.

Defining game estate

A game estate is a place where animals are kept – all or some of the time – for the purpose of providing opportunities for people to hunt or catch them as recreational catch, as if in the wild. The food safety requirements that game estates meet are covered by the Animal Products Act (APA) 1999.

Register with OSPRI

You will need to contact OSPRI (TBfree NZ) to have your game estate registered with TBfree, as required by the TBfree National Operational Plan. Find out more:

Complying with the APA

If you operate a game estate, you need to be familiar with all of your legal obligations under Part 5 of the APA. As part of this, you need to be listed as a game estate operator with MPI.

Listing as a game estate

Your game estate must be listed with MPI if either or both of the following apply:

  • Client hunters remove from your game estate any edible parts of animals killed by them on the estate. If the animal parts are removed for use only as a trophy, then they are excepted.
  • You, as the game estate operator, wish to supply game estate animal material for processing as regulated product.

There are a number of steps to be followed to be listed as a game estate operator, depending on whether the product is intended for the domestic market or for export.

Firstly, you will need to apply for listing with MPI as a game estate operator. Use the AP28 application form to apply for listing. It is your responsibility to renew your listing each year.

Exporting animal material

If animal material from your game estate is going to be processed for export, your game estate will need to be verified by MPI Verification Services. This option is limited to the processing of game estate deer. Verification is conducted with reference to the following notice:

To arrange a verification visit, contact Piers Harrison at MPI Verification Services.

  • Phone: 04 894 5673

Keep your listing up to date

An annual verification of your game estate is required to maintain your game estate listing. Once listed, your details are maintained on MPI’s public register of listed game estates.

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