The Elk and Wapiti Society of New Zealand is marking its 30th anniversary this month.

The celebration will be held in Wanaka, the home of founding president Sir Tim Wallis, on January 28. The event was intended to bring together everyone with an affiliation with the breed and more than 150 people were expected to attend, president John Falconer said.

"It's not a huge membership but a passion for the breed has been the overriding driver.

"The activities and achievements are many and varied and, while they have been breed-focused, there has been a healthy spillover into industry good," he said.


Elk were first successfully introduced in New Zealand in Fiordland in 1905. Those 18 animals interbred with red deer in the wilds of Fiordland over the ensuing 70 years and the cross became known as wapiti.

Live capture of the Fiordland wapiti led to the animals being farmed in New Zealand. Elk and wapiti have been farmed here since the early 1980s.

A farm tour to Cattle Flat Station, including a barbecue lunch with "The Game Chef", Angelo Georgalli and a dinner featuring guest speakers and awards is planned to mark the anniversary.

The event would also coincide with the society's 20th annual velvet and hard antler competition, Mr Falconer said.