Various species of deer were released in New Zealand between 1850 and 1925 for recreational hunting purposes. Deer will browse and graze and have adapted well to New Zealand conditions. Deer remove all palatable seedlings when present in New Zealand’s indigenous forest and will browse commercial forest species. They also have a detrimental effect on indigenous coastal shrubland.
Populations of feral deer exist in New Zealand’s North and South Islands and on numerous offshore islands. Populations and species vary throughout the country with Marlborough holding high numbers of predominantly red and fallow deer.