Easter might be about cute bunnies and chocolate eggs for most, but in one part of New Zealand wild rabbits are the target.

The annual Easter Bunny Hunt in Central Otago, in the country's South Island, has a simple goal - to kill as many rabbits as possible in 24 hours.

Rabbits are an introduced pest in New Zealand, and this year's hunt saw the population in Central Otago decimated by 10,000, The Guardian reported.

Teams sign up for the event and are allocated a block of land to shoot on and the winners are those who shoot the most - this year, team "Down South" won, after shooting 889 rabbits.

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But the total is less than half of the record - 23,000.

In its 25th year, this time around the hunt attracted 27 teams of 12 with names like "anti-pestos" and "happy hoppers".

It's not only rabbits being targeted - other pest and invasive species like ferrets, stoats and possums are also shot.

The event is organised by the Lions Club from Alexandra, a town in Central Otago.

Club President Eugene Ferreira told The Guardian: "The bunnies cause massive land erosion on the farms around here, and hunting is the most effective and efficient way of controlling it".

He said now and then animal activists attended the event but changed their position when they saw the damaged caused by the rabbits.

Many of the 10,000 dead rabbits would be buried, some used as fertiliser, others as dog food and some eaten.

During the event, alcohol is banned, safe driving advocated and shooters required to stay in their allocated areas.

Rabbits were introduced to New Zealand in 1830s by settlers and spread throughout the country, causing widespread damage, Newshub reported.

They are estimated to have caused tens millions of dollars in pest control and lost profit, according to The Guardian

The shooting began at 9am on Good Friday and finished the same time on Saturday ahead of count up at noon - so children needn't be concerned about the Easter Bunny's safety.

- Daily Mail