Special Feature: The home of wild pig hunting in New Zealand
Lying to the west of Tongariro National Park and centred on Te Kuiti, is a vast region of endless razorback ridges and deep isolated valleys.
The King Country extends southwards into the Awakino, Mokau and Whanganui catchments embracing a huge variety of wilderness areas, which offer a supreme challenge for fair chase hunters. More than 20 state forests are available to hunters in this region – they are scattered remnants of the once majestic indigenous podocarp forests that clothed the entire landscape. Pureora is the largest remaining block with outliers such as Whareorino, Waitomo, Hauturu and Tawarau.
Pureora is a magnificent forest of ancient podocarps like totara, rimu, matai, miro and kahikatea, and is regarded as a paradise for the outdoors person, offering red deer of trophy standard. If you want to hear the full-blooded battle cry of a stag during the April/May roar then Pureora is a good place to start.
Red deer are present in most of the King Country forests in low to moderate numbers. The more remote Pureora valleys in the Rangitoto and Hauhungaroa Ranges have the highest densities and the North Block, designated as a Recreational Hunting Area, offers good prospects.
Wild pigs are well established in the exotic forest plantations and scrubland around the towns of Tokoroa, Mangakino, Waitomo and Te Kuiti. Waitomo is an interesting area to hunt because of its dual landscapes and fascinating limestone formations. The area is famous for its glow worm studded caves and the dark, hidden underground caverns and streams. The above-ground landscape also has deep hideaways in dense bush for wild game. Add the Whanganui National Park to the above King Country areas and you have the highest concentration of wild pigs in New Zealand.
Goats are found in low to moderate numbers throughout the coastal ranges, which extend into Taranaki.
Ducks and pheasants are found in low numbers throughout the King Country wetlands and lowland areas.
Guided hunting safaris in the Pureoras, Kaimanawas and Kawekas for red and sika deer trophies can be arranged in Atiamuri and also Ohakune.