An annual black swan shoot has left some Bay of Plenty locals angered and upset at what they say are inhumane killing practices.
For one day each year Tauranga's usually tranquil estuary is filled with the sound of gunfire as dozens of black swans are bought down in the name of sport.
Dudley and Bev Lecky, who enjoy partaking in the seasonal shoot, defended their hunting practices when they spoke to ONE News.
"It's something we have done for many years now, here& and it's not only for that, it's for the meat that we get off the birds too," Dudley said.
"We make them into sausages, patties, salami," Bev added.
Not only is the hunting of the black swans legal, it is endorsed by authorities.
But concerned locals like Phil McKernon say that still does not make it right.
"These people get pleasure out of killing something of beauty," he said.
McKernon owns a bed and breakfast in the area and said in the past tourists have left after seeing the killing.
"And they said they will never come back to New Zealand again."
McKernon is among several residents who asked ONE News to attend the annual hunt this year.
The residents are also outraged that there is no public warning about the hunt.
"Last year I had the grandchildren staying and they were just around the corner from us. How do you explain to children, it was just like a warzone," neighbour Sandra Maskell told ONE News.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council backs the hunt, saying swans can significantly impact on the harbour's seagrass beds.
In the last eight years swan numbers have risen from 4000 to 5000.
"To see their droppings out here in the harbour, it's horrific," Dudley said. "Fish and Game are quite happy and want us to do this, it saves them a job."
However, opposing locals say there are more humane ways to keep swan numbers down.
"I think the best way is to prick eggs from nests. You prick all bar one, and then only one cygnet hatches," Maskell said.
Fish and Game said that has not worked in the past as the swans simply move to new breeding grounds.
The organisation admits it may have to start considering
additional control measures, but says it is common to have hunters