Paradise: Hunting in Kaweka Forest Park

Department of Conservation —  29/09/2016

Maz Taylor-Gregory shares with us her recent hunting adventure in Kaweka Forest Park with dad Mark.

I guess it’s hard to explain paradise. For me it’s freedom, surrounded by nature’s creation and the sound of nothing but morning bird song, the whistling of the wind in the trees and the odd fly buzzing past your ear. That’s my description of paradise.

Paradise — Kaweka Forest Park.


We started off in a helicopter. Flying over acres of farm land and then into the Kaweka Forest Park. We made our way up the ranges, over amazing tree tops and rocky outcrops to land at the hut site which would be our home for the next three days. I’d only been in a helicopter once before and I must say; everything has a much more beautiful view from above!

The Otutu Hut was great. It had all the essentials and nothing more. It wasn’t over done and gave the true feeling of a New Zealand backcountry hut. Not to mention it was clean and kept in good condition. The first night, three trampers were staying in the hut too; they were part of the New Zealand hiking club and had some really interesting stories making that first night a lot more fun.

Otutu Hut — Kaweka Forest Park.

Otutu Hut

We did a few day hunts and got to know where the deer were and found our way around the place. On the second day we decided to take a walk down to the river on a track we thought existed. Turns out half way down this ‘track’ it was time for some bush bashing in the scrub which seemed to go on forever!

Dad, Mark, with dog Ghana in Kaweka Forest Park.

Dad with our dog Ghana

After around three hours of walking up and down short steep parts and crawling through scrub we found the river. It was set in a beautiful valley and was what I call ‘untouched’. We made our way up the river and saw some beautiful sights that words can’t explain. It was one of those ‘you had to be there’ moments.

The next day, right on sunset dad shot a sika deer and only just made it back to the hut on dark. The sika were as elusive as ever so we only got the one for the trip – but we did see another seven.

Exhausted in Kaweka Forest Park.

Exhausted but worth it!

Just to spoil us, our fourth day was the best by far. We woke up at 5 am to tackle the challenging climb up Manson hill and around the tops. It was worth it though, as we reached the summit, the sun was rising and we saw it touch patches of the hill for the first time that morning. It was going to be a beautiful day.

During the hike we spent a lot of time stopping and admiring the views – it really felt like we were on top of the world! We made it back to the hut by 4 pm and I was proud to accomplish the full loop.

Maz with her dad’s prize winning sika.

Maz with her dad’s prize winning sika

I found this opportunity well worth it and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

It really refreshed me and made me realise once again the New Zealand is one of the true paradises of the world. A lot of the time people don’t realise this and all they need to do is get away from the cities and social life and take a walk in nature.

This trip was won by Mark at last year’s Sika Show competition. Flights in and out were donated by East Kaweka Helicopters. Find out more about hunting sika deer on the DOC website.

One response to Paradise: Hunting in Kaweka Forest Park


    Sounds like a great trip into some awesome country. Beaut head too, well done