Saving the Kaimanawa Horses


There are only three weeks left to save around seventy Kaimanawa Heritage Horses (KHH). These are the descendants of the majestic horses who have lived in the Kaimanawa Ranges for over one hundred and forty years.

The Kaimanawa Ranges have a unique biodiversity, managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC). The herd is kept at approximately three hundred horses which allows a balance between the environment and the animals. DOC does an annual herd count via helicopter and the surplus horses will be mustered in around April/May this year, dependant on favourable weather conditions, and offered for adoption. Every muster there are mares, stallions, yearlings and foals available for adoption to approved homes.  The muster is conducted by DOC with the co-operation of the New Zealand Army. Horses are mustered in with their family groups, usually from specific areas which DOC have decided on, based on the data from the annual herd count. The DOC vet decides which horses are suitable for re-homing and which will be slaughtered.

“These horses are wild so can’t be expected to behave like a domesticated animal,” said KHH Canterbury representative and ex-local Katarina Tawiri. “However once they have had time to adjust they are  loyal, talented, hardy, robust, strong, versatile animals which adapt quickly to their new environments. The qualities bred into these horses reflect their survival instincts in the wild,” Katarina pointed out. “They bring a lot of enjoyment to people in their chosen equestrian disciplines and are highly intelligent,” she added. “Once they know people can be relied upon, they are a loyal family member for life.”

Kaimanawa Heritage Horses (KHH) are a charitable society, run by dedicated volunteers, and dedicated to the care and welfare of these horses both domestically and in the wild.

There are also other ways people can help the Kaimanawa Horses without adopting them;

  • Support through a donation:
  • Becoming a member:

 For more information: Contact Katarina Tawiri or Kaimanawa Heritage Horses on Facebook, or go to