Those desperate to resume their sport or hobby - whatever it be boating, hunting or rugby - only have three days to wait.

Under level 2, all recreational sports are allowed - providing the Government's level 2 guidelines around physical distancing, group gatherings and hygiene are followed.

Hunters desperate to duck shoot can start next Saturday when the season officially opens on May 23.

Fish & Game New Zealand confirmed the new start date today and said it was chosen so that hunters had time to equip themselves, prepare their maimais and travel to their hunting grounds.

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The season was delayed from the traditional May 1 opening date while the country was in alert level 3.

Fishing & Game chief executive Martin Taylor said the alert level 2 conditions for game bird hunting were more practical for the hunters and has proven the benefits of waiting versus opting for the restrictions of alert level 3.

The end dates for regions that have smaller seasons will also be extended and the exact end dates will be confirmed in the next few days.

Under level 2, hunters can travel inter-regionally and will be able stay overnight at their hunting spots with friends and family.

Taylor said it was good news for hunters who could travel, use their boats, and access public land, communities who relied on the game bird season for income and food supply and outdoor retailers supplying the gear.

All hunters will start hunting on the same day and it will be illegal for any game bird hunting to take place before this as it is a legal change to the season dates.

Recreation Aotearoa spokesman Sam Newton said every sport including contact sports and skiing could be done.

Club sports including soccer are allowed under level 2 - the codes and clubs may just need time to prepare. Photo / Ian Cooper
Club sports including soccer are allowed under level 2 - the codes and clubs may just need time to prepare. Photo / Ian Cooper

"Unlike level 3 and 4, the guidance isn't so much around what form of physical activity you do, it is how it is done and what the people providing it do."

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He said the emphasis was on cleaning and physical distancing where possible.

Newton said the big win for them was allowing inter-regional travel which meant people could travel outside their regions to carry out their sport of choice such as surfing.

Ski fields are preparing to open for different looking ski season this year. Photo / Alan Gibson
Ski fields are preparing to open for different looking ski season this year. Photo / Alan Gibson

Being able to travel around the country also meant that ski fields could also open for the winter season, providing they followed the required health measures.

Club sports could also resume under level 2, but it was expected to take some time for some codes and clubs to put the necessary measures in place.

"While the vast majority of recreation and sport types are allowed, the perfectly justified and legitimate public health measures around them will be tricky and complex to implement," Newton said.

Tennis, hockey, golf, badminton, swimming, rugby, soccer and going to the gym were among the long list of activities allowed as soon as Thursday.

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Gyms and public swimming pools will also reopen with changes.

Hamilton City Council, for example, will open its pools from Thursday with restrictions such as they be used for lane swimming only and limits of how many are in each lane. No more than 100 people can be in the biggest facility. Toddler pools, hydroslides, spa and steam rooms will remain closed.

The Learn to Swim programme will be available for one-to-one or family lessons only and group exercise classes will have restricted numbers.

Newton said while it might take some sports longer to implement the rules, he was confident all codes would make it work.
Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

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