Reprint as at 26 March 2015

Wildlife Act 1953

Public Act1953 No 31
Date of assent31 October 1953
Commencementsee section 1(2)


Changes authorised by subpart 2 of Part 2 of the Legislation Act 2012 have been made in this official reprint.

Note 4 at the end of this reprint provides a list of the amendments incorporated.

This Act is administered by the Department of Conservation.



1 Short Title and commencement

2 Interpretation

2A Meaning of possession

2B Application of certain provisions restricted

Part 1
Protection of wildlife

3 Wildlife to be protected

4 Certain wildlife declared to be game

5 Certain wildlife partially protected

6 Certain wildlife may be hunted subject to conditions imposed by the Minister

7 Certain wildlife not protected

7A Noxious animals

7B Terrestrial and freshwater invertebrates

7BA Marine species

7C Farming certain unprotected animals

8 Alteration of schedules

Wildlife sanctuaries

9 Wildlife sanctuaries

10 All wildlife in sanctuaries absolutely protected

11 Destruction or seizure of certain animals found in sanctuaries

12 Mining privileges, coal mining rights, and public works [Repealed]

13 Seizure of wildlife, etc, illegally taken

Wildlife refuges

14 Wildlife refuges

Wildlife management reserves

14A Wildlife management reserves

14AA Granting of concessions in wildlife sanctuaries, wildlife refuges, and wildlife management reserves

Management planning

14B Wildlife areas to be managed by Department

14C General policy

14D Conservation management strategies

14E Conservation management plans

14F Population management plans

14G Determining maximum allowable level of fishing-related mortality

14H Determining area-based maximum levels of fishing-related mortality

14I Procedure for preparation and approval of population management plans

Part 2

15 Open season for game

16 Notification as to conditions on which open season declared

17 Hunting or killing in game areas

18 Restrictions on the taking of game

19 Licence to hunt or kill game

19A Game bird habitat stamp

20 Limitation of licence [Repealed]

21 Holder of licence not to enter on land without consent

22 Shooting of game not in flight prohibited

23 Sale of game and sale of shooting rights prohibited

Part 3

Acclimatisation districts and societies


24 Acclimatisation districts [Repealed]

25 Acclimatisation societies [Repealed]

26 Societies to be bodies corporate [Repealed]

27 Appointment to councils of societies of representatives of farming interests, etc [Repealed]

28 Disqualification of officers of societies [Repealed]

29 Rules of acclimatisation societies [Repealed]

30 Functions of societies [Repealed]

31 Appointment of officers and servants [Repealed]

32 Societies may undertake research [Repealed]

33 Expenditure by societies [Repealed]

34 Annual reports and balance sheets of societies to be forwarded to Minister [Repealed]

35 Failure of society to act [Repealed]

36 Dissolution of societies [Repealed]

Wildlife districts

37 Wildlife districts


38 Rangers

38A Fish and game rangers to be rangers under this Act

39 Powers of rangers

40 Obstructing rangers

Powers of Minister

41 Minister's general powers

42 Fencing of land

43 Tenancies

44 Delegation of Minister's powers

Powers of Director-General

44A Delegation of powers by Director-General

New Zealand Game Bird Habitat Trust Board

44B New Zealand Game Bird Habitat Trust Board established

44C Board to be body corporate

44D Functions of Board

44E Powers of Board

44F Membership of Board

44G Term of office of members of Board

44H Servicing

44I Funds to be held on trust

44J Crown entity

44K Annual report

44L Members not personally liable

Part 4
Injurious birds


45 Interpretation [Repealed]

46 Local authority may apply or raise funds for destruction of injurious birds [Repealed]

47 Local authorities to submit plans for destruction for approval of Director-General [Repealed]

48 Appointment of Inspectors, and bylaws [Repealed]

49 Provisions to secure concerted action [Repealed]

50 Minister may appoint Inspectors to carry out this Part if local authority fails to do so [Repealed]

51 Obstructing Inspector [Repealed]

52 Expenses of carrying out this Part [Repealed]

Part 5
General provisions

53 Director-General may authorise taking or killing of wildlife for certain purposes

54 Director-General may authorise hunting or killing of wildlife causing damage

55 Keeping of specimens in museums

56 Restrictions on liberation or export of animals, birds, etc

56A Application of Customs and Excise Act 1996

57 Ownership of animals

58 Homing pigeons

59 Entry on land for purposes of Act

60 Protection of rangers and others

61 Person in pursuit of wildlife to comply with demand by authorised officer

Offences and penalties

62 Offences in relation to transport of wildlife

63 Taking protected wildlife or game, etc

63A Taking of absolutely or partially protected marine wildlife

63B Reporting of accidental or incidental death or injury

64 Offences in relation to wildlife sanctuaries

65 Other offences

65A Liability of directors and managers

66 Offenders to give name and address to rangers, etc

67 Penalties for offences in respect of marine wildlife

67A Penalties for offences in respect of absolutely protected wildlife

67B Penalty for offence of liberating wildlife

67C Penalties for offences in respect of partially protected wildlife

67D Penalty for offence of obstructing ranger

67E Penalties for offences in respect of game

67F Penalties for other offences

67G Sentence of community work

67H Offenders also liable for loss or damage

67I Penalties for offences committed for commercial gain or reward

68 Conduct of proceedings and recovery of fines

68A Proceedings in respect of offences

68AB Mens rea and strict liability offences

68B Defences to offences in respect of marine wildlife

69 Evidence of boundaries, etc

70 Forfeitures


71 Saving of other Acts

71A Control of dogs

72 Regulations

73 Repeals, savings, and consequential amendments

Schedule 1
Wildlife declared to be game

Schedule 2
Partially protected wildlife

Schedule 3
Wildlife that may be hunted or killed subject to Minister's notification

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

Schedule 5
Wildlife not protected

Schedule 6
Animals declared to be noxious animals subject to the Noxious Animals Act 1956

Schedule 7
Terrestrial and freshwater invertebrates declared to be animals

Schedule 7A
Marine species declared to be animals

Schedule 8
Wildlife not protected but may be kept, bred, or farmed in captivity pursuant to regulations made under principal Act or by Minister's direction

Schedule 9
Acts not affected by this Act

Schedule 10
Enactments repealed

Wildlife Amendment Act 1983

Conservation Law Reform Act 1990

Wildlife Amendment Act 1996

Biosecurity Law Reform Act 2012

Reprint notes

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