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Monument Unveiling at Lake Pukaki Reason to Celebrate

Monument Unveiling at Lake Pukaki Reason to Celebrate

The official unveiling of the bronze tahr sculpture overlooking Lake Pukaki by the Game and Forest Foundation is planned for Saturday, March 15. The sculpture, created by Murray Matuschka, has been erected to commemorate the introduction of the species 100 years ago.

Members of Safari Club International New Zealand Chapter (SCINZ) have been actively involved in fundraising for this project, and the official unveiling offers them an occasion to celebrate the recent passing of the Game Animal Council Bill in parliament.

The passing of the bill in November 2013 will give hunters a statutory voice in the management of their recreation on public conservation land. The Game Animal Council will be an independent body charged with managing designated herds of deer, tahr, chamois and wild pigs.

The Game Animal Council is the result of three public consultation processes dating back to 1997. SCINZ has been advocating the establishment of such a council for more than 20 years, and deserves credit for working tirelessly towards getting the Game Animal Council Bill up and running.

“The establishment of the Game Animal Council Act is great news for tens of thousands of New Zealanders who hunt. It enables them to join mountaineers, trampers, game bird hunters, and trout and salmon fishers in having a statutory voice into the management of their recreation on public conservation land,” Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith said.

For New Zealand’s recreational hunters, the establishment of the Game Animal Council is a significant step forward as it offers a tangible opportunity to replace conflict and marginalisation with co-operation and focused management.

Key functions of the Game Animal Council include advising and making recommendations to the Minister on hunting issues, providing information and education to the sector, promoting safety initiatives, conducting game animal research, and undertaking management functions for designated herds of special interest.

“Our members welcome the opportunity to work alongside New Zealand’s recreational hunting clubs and organisations to secure a healthy hunting environment for both now and future generations of New Zealanders and international visitors,” said SCI NZ Chapter President Bruce Flett.

“We thank Safari Club International for the initial contribution of funds that was used to set up the Game and Forest Foundation. This organisation was the steering wheel required to bring interested parties together and create a stronger voice to defend and protect hunting rights,” Mr Flett said.

The Tuscon-based Safari Club International’s key focus areas are protecting hunters' rights and promoting wildlife conservation. The organisation’s SCI Foundation has provided more than US$50 million of funding to conservation, wildlife education, and humanitarian programs around the world.

The Minister has called for nominations to the Game Animal Council and appointments will take effect from 1 June 2014 for an initial term of three years. The Minister is expected to approve the code of practice by the end of this year.

ENDS

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