Code of Conduct

This Code of Conduct is aimed at ensuring that not only newcomers to hunting, but all who hunt understand that it is their absolute obligation to maintain the highest standards of sportsmanship and good behaviour at all times. We must always be mindful of presenting all aspects of our sport with a profile that can withstand scrutiny at all times.


Hunting in New Zealand is the sport of hunting the hare in its wild and natural state. Nothing must be done which in any way compromises this rule. The New Zealand Hunts’ Association Incorporated (NZHA) has laid down a set of rules for Masters of Hounds to observe in support of this.

Hunting flourishes entirely because of the goodwill of landowners and farmers. No-one who goes hunting should do anything to jeopardise this goodwill.

As a guest of landowners, hunt followers must understand that all operations and activities on a property be treated with utmost respect and confidentiality.

It should always be remembered that for any hunting day, you are the guest on someone else’s land.

Masters of Hounds or their appointed Deputies are solely responsible for conducting the day’s hunting, and are bound by strict rules and instructions from the NZHA. Their authority is absolute and their instructions must be cheerfully obeyed.


When following hounds:-

  1. Conform to the local standards of behaviour.
  2. Ensure that the turnout of both yourself and your horse is neat, clean and safe. Your landowner hosts will appreciate a well turned-out field.
  3. The Master is entirely responsible for the day’s hunting. It is important to respect and adhere to the Master’s instructions. If reprimanded by the Master, the only response is “Sorry Master.” Remember, whatever your views, the Master is never wrong.
  4. When first addressing the Master at a Hunt you should always say “Good Morning Master.” The Master is addressed as ‘Master.’
  5. Non-members and new followers wishing to enjoy a days hunting must have prior approval from the Master before the day’s hunting.
  6. Members of a Hunt wishing to visit another Hunt should contact the Master or an appropriate Official of that Hunt prior to making the visit.
  7. A member wishing to introduce a new follower to a days hunting must obtain prior approval from the Master before the day’s hunting.
  8. It is customary for new followers and visitors from another Hunt to be introduced to the Master before appearing on the field.
  9. Be punctual at the meet. The Master may wish to announce any local conditions before moving off.
  10. Refrain from causing damage. If you should break a fence or cause damage of any kind, report it immediately to the appointed Hunt Official.
  11. Do not block roads, driveways, raceways, tanker tracks or the like.
  12. If a rider chooses to go through a gate, it is that rider’s responsibility to shut it unless the follower behind signals he/she will do so. Gates that need shutting are signalled verbally by “gate please”. Close all gates if you are uncertain of their original state.
  13. Refrain from disturbing livestock unnecessarily.
  14. Keep off young grass and crops at all times. If you are allowed to ride around the edge of such a paddock, keep to the very edge.
  15. Keep off wet areas as much as possible and avoid ploughing the country by, for example, galloping down steep slopes.
  16. A red ribbon on your horses tail provides no excuse should it kick. Remember to allow plenty of space between you and the horse in front of you.
  17. Do not ride too close to the Master or the hounds.
  18. Members of the Field should always give way to the Huntsman, Whippers-In and Master.
  19. Whenever hounds are close to you, be sure to turn your horse’s head to face them. In this position, hounds are less likely to be kicked.
  20. Should you get caught in the wrong place, stand still and keep quiet rather than trying to escape notice.
  21. If you hear the call “Hold-Hard”, stop immediately and keep quiet so you don’t disturb the hounds’ concentration or the scent of a hunted hare.
  22. When the “Field” is jumping riders who prefer to use a gate must not open the gate until all jumping has ceased.
  23. When sighting a hare a follower should point either with a whip or a hat at arms’ length to indicate where a hare has gone, or ride up and tell the Master.
  24. Only the Master should give instructions to the Huntsman.
  25. If you retire from the Field early, inform a Hunt official for your own safety.
  26. Followers should show respect to each other.
  27. As a member of the Field, you are expected to contribute to and stay for afternoon tea – the ‘Hunt Breakfast.’ It is etiquette to join the Master at the Hunt Breakfast in thanking the Property Owners for the privilege of hunting over their land.
  28. It is correct to refer to a Hunt as, for example, ‘Poverty Bay Hunt.’ It is not correct to refer to a Hunt as a ‘Hunt Club.’

Un-mounted followers:-

  1. Non-riding followers must adhere to the same rules that govern the behaviour of the Field.
  2. Do not interrupt the flow of traffic.
  3. Do not obstruct traffic.
  4. Do not drive vehicles on private drives, farmland or open country unless you are sure that the permission of the farmer or landowner has been obtained. Remember that you too are a guest.
  5. Keep together as much as possible and try to avoid heading off the hare or getting between the hounds and their hare.
  6. Should a car Field Master be appointed, please obey him. By doing so, you will both avoid interfering with the sport and greatly increase your own chance of seeing it.
  7. Motorists should always turn off their engines when anywhere near hounds, particularly when they are running. Petrol fumes completely destroy hounds’ scenting powers.
  8. Persons driving vehicles over farm property by permission should get to a vantage point as soon as possible and remain there for the reasons already stated.
  9. Please do all you can to help the hunt.
  10. Remain as quiet as possible.
  11. Be ready to open gates for horsemen and be sure to shut all gates properly.
  12. Spectators should not stand on gates.
  13. NZHA Liability Insurance Policy only covers those hunting on horseback, it does not cover car followers, motor cyclists and spectators.


Accidental trespass cannot always be avoided, but the wishes of the landowners, no matter how small must be respected. Every effort must be made to prevent hounds and followers from straying onto country where they are not welcome.

Today, more people are able to enjoy the countryside, many of whom have no interest in hunting. We must make every effort to avoid giving offence to such people.

Common courtesy, particularly in the form of a simple ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ costs nothing.

All photos taken must be appropriate and positive for hunting.

Do not take photos when the hounds are rewarded. These steps are in place to help preserve the image of our sport.

It is a condition of following hounds that all riders and non-riders need to acknowledge that neither the Hunt nor the Landowners whose country they are traversing can be held liable for any injury or damage to persons, horses or vehicles arising from the Hunt’s activities.


Note: Individual Hunts may vary their uniforms.

All hunting coats are single vented.

The number of buttons worn identifies the individuals’ position in the Hunt.

Master and Hunt Staff

Male Masters and Hunt Staff – Black hunting hat, red/scarlet/green Hunt coat with appropriate collar and Hunt button (if applicable), a square cut coat at bottom front with four buttons for the Master, a square cut at bottom front with five buttons for the Huntsman, white breeches, black boots with tan tops, white stock.

Female Masters and Hunt Staff – Black hunting hat, hair in net, red/scarlet/green Hunt coat with appropriate collar and Hunt button (if applicable), a square cut coat at bottom front with four buttons for the Master, a square cut at bottom front with five buttons for the Huntsman, beige or fawn breeches, black boots (without tan tops), white stock.

Male Member

Black hunting hat, Hunt coat with appropriate collar and buttons (if applicable), rounded cut, three  buttons, beige or fawn breeches, black boots or black boots with tan tops, white stock. (Four buttons if Master or Past Master).

Female Member

Black hunting hat, hair in net, Hunt coat with appropriate collar and buttons (if applicable), beige or fawn breeches, black boots (no tan tops), white or cream stock. (Four buttons if Master or Past Master).

Rat Catcher

Men and women. Black hunting hat, whip cord or tweed coat, fawn or drab breeches, black or brown boots, coloured or white stock or collar and tie.


May wear short boots.