Wallabies in NZ: controlling their numbers

Wallabies were introduced to New Zealand for hunting but they have become a pest. Find out what we're doing to control them.

Why wallabies are a problem

New Zealand is home to 5 wallaby species. They were introduced for hunting more than 140 years ago. Now they are a pest to farmers and damage native plants. Their numbers are growing and they have spread across several regions.

Wallabies can:

  • damage native forests and tussocks
  • compete for feed with sheep, cattle, and other livestock
  • damage crops, young trees, and fences
  • increase the risk of erosion.

Dama wallabies are in the Rotorua area. They have spread into the Waikato. Bennett's wallabies are in Canterbury and North Otago. Within 50 years, wallabies could spread across a third of the North and South Islands.

A programme to manage wallabies

MPI is leading a national wallaby management programme.

What we'll be doing

  • Surveillance and population control in the Bay of Plenty, Waikato, Canterbury, and Otago.
  • Building fences to slow the spread of wallabies.
  • Improving wallaby detection and control.

Note that Kawau Island in the Hauraki Gulf is home to parma, dama, swamp, and brush-tailed rock wallabies. These wallabies cannot spread so they are not part of the programme.

Wallaby programme funding

The programme has $27.4 million of funding from 2020 to 2024. It is part of the Government's $1.3 billion Jobs for Nature programme.

The programme will help support regional communities. It will create jobs and give extra work to businesses providing goods and services.

Help from other organisations

We're not doing this work alone. We are working with partner organisations including councils, farmers, and iwi.

Regional councils

Pest animals – Bay of Plenty Regional Council

Wallabies – Waikato Regional Council

Managing animal pests – Environment Canterbury Regional Council

Bennett's wallaby – Otago Regional Council


Land Information New Zealand (LINZ)

What to hunt: Wallabies – Department of Conservation

Iwi organisations

Te Arawa Lakes Trust

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu

Research organisations

Landcare Research

Industry and non-governmental organisations

Federated Farmers

Forest & Bird

Beef + Lamb New Zealand

New Zealand Forest Owners Association

Find out more

Review of current and future predicted distributions and impacts of Bennett's and dama wallabies in mainland New Zealand [PDF, 2.3 MB]

Control of wallabies – Bionet website

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