Push for more women in the world of fishing, hunting

Source: 1News

Fish & Game New Zealand is pushing for more women to get into fishing and hunting after a ministerial review last year found a lack of engagement from the organisation.

Many anglers will be on rivers and lakes up and down the country this weekend as the trout and salmon fishing season opens.

Although the number of women taking up the sport is on the rise, there's still a push for better female representation across the board.

Jennifer Jeffery is a part of the growing number of women hooked on fly fishing.

"It's so much fun just to get outside and do something a bit different," she said.

Jennifer has been destined for the sport since birth, her father quickly nipped off to a fly fishing course with world champion Mike Weddell an hour after she was born.

"She was meant to be due before we started the courses but unfortunately she didn't come when she was meant to and the night of the very first course my wife went into labour," Jennifer's father, Graeme Jeffery, said.

"I was meant to have the course at about 7 o'clock at night and by about 6 o'clock she still hadn't had the baby and I said to my wife I wish she'd just hurry up.

"She had the baby about five past six so I got to the course right at 7 o'clock," Graeme said.

Mike has been teaching Kiwi anglers for over 40 years. Back when he started, women were scarce.

However, he's starting to see things change.

"Most classes have women in now," Mike said. "The more people that get involved the better because the greater the diversity and the more power we have to exert influence in looking after the environment."

He's not the only one noticing a shift. Corina Jordan, the Fish & Game chief executive, has seen it too.

"What we are seeing is more women starting to get interested in hunting and angling overall, we see that with the hunting and fishing stores, in particular, we pop in there, they're selling far more women's merchandise now," Corina said.

But there's still a long way to go, a ministerial review into fish and game last year found a lack of engagement with female anglers and hunters - and a lack of diversity within regional fish and game councils, perpetuating an "old boys club" image.

Out of the 128 Fish & Game councillors, only three are female.

Corina's the first female CEO of the council and wants to see more women in top roles.

"I think it's time for the organisation to have a good look at itself and think about what it's going to look like going forward for New Zealand," she said.

Fish & Game said it's working through the recommendations and will make proposals in the coming months to ensure this popular pastime has something for everyone.