Ossie Brown, of Naseby, was taught to hunt by his father before he was six and now he has made a career out of it.

He has been working in pest destruction since 1971, after leaving school; first with the Kyeburn Rabbit Board, then as supervisor for the Maniototo Pest Destruction Board, then as area pest overseer for Otago Regional Council.

Now he is the manager for the farmer-owned Maniototo Pest Management Incorporated (MPM) and his working life is spent hunting, trapping and poisoning wallabies, goats, rabbits, and other pests.

Brown was appointed the manager of the MPM when the society was first established in 1997.


It was started by farmers for farmers following the ORC's change in pest management funding.

''The farmers [in the Maniototo catchment] didn't want to go to the user-pays system the ORC was introducing.

''They wanted to be in charge of pest control [on their lands].''

MPM employed Brown and one staff member and casuals to carry out shooting or poisoning on the properties.

Most hill country farmers and many lowland farmers in the Maniototo belong and pay an annual levy based on the size of their properties.

The company is responsible for about 250,000ha, including using a helicopter to shoot rabbits, pigs, goats and geese over 60,000ha to 80,000ha.

They also hunt possums and wallabies.

He said MPM was the only pest control model of its type in the country and was working well.


Its success was largely due to the full co-operation from Maniototo farmers.

''We would have the lowest rabbit population in the whole of Otago.

He supported the use of 1080 as an effective tool against rabbits and possums.

''I am astonished people are so negative about it and there is so much hostility against it.

''If we didn't have 1080, Central Otago would be a mass of rabbits.

''We would be in deep trouble.''

He sees wallabies as a significant threat to the region, as are the estimated 12,000 white and Canadian geese that flock to the headwaters of the Taieri River, and cause significant damage.

''The geese pollute and devastate the pastures and make a huge mess, making it unusable for sheep and cattle.

''The Taieri is a very small river and that amount of birds must have a massive impact on the water quality.

''We have been tackling them for years and we thought we had eradicated the white geese, but they are just so cunning.''

A few years ago Brown left the society to be a property manager at Lake Ohau for five years, but Naseby called him back.

''I am the fourth generation to live in Naseby and come from a family of gold miners.

''I am happiest in the tussocks.''

However, wife Raeleen is a Dunedin girl and although they have been married for 42 years, she still feels the need to return to Dunedin occasionally.

''I like going back to Dunedin for a recharge and leave Ossie at home.

''Naseby gets in your blood.''

When he has time off he goes hunting and fishing, and he is now teaching his grandchildren the same skills.