An agreement between the Conservation Department and Fur Council has been welcomed by veteran Wanganui possum fur and skin buyer Colin Cox.
The memorandum of understanding signed last week will make it easier for possum hunters and trappers accredited by the New Zealand Fur Council to work on conservation land.
"I think it's a good move. Let's just see how it goes," Mr Cox said.
He worked with Sir Peter Elworthy to start the possum industry in New Zealand. He said Conservation Department (DoC) staff varied in their attitude to access for possum hunters.
Hunters had not generally been allowed into Whanganui National Park. But he got permission to ferry many in and out of the Waitotara Conservation Area in 2012-13.
Fur Council chairman Neil Mackie said international demand for possum fur yarn was strong.
The industry generated $100million to $150million a year. Most of the garments were bought by tourists, and the industry employed 1500 people.
DoC director-general Lou Sanson said the agreement would also benefit conservation.
Possums ate 21,000 tonnes of New Zealand bush a night. DoC spent more than $10million a year controlling them, but it was only done intensively on 10 per cent of the 8.5 million hectares it looked after. "There are millions of hectares of bush that we simply can't get to," Mr Sanson said.
Hunters and trappers could help on land where possums were not controlled, and also on buffer areas surrounding intensively trapped and poisoned areas.
Mr Cox said they would not be interested in working in areas where possum numbers were low.
And he said numbers were generally lower than they used to be, due to work by regional councils and DoC.
His brother Bo was buying possum fur for $105 a kilo, which he said made it barely worth collecting. Possum skins were only financially worthwhile if they were top quality, and worth $15 to $20 each.
Mr Cox estimated there were only about six fulltime possum hunters left in the Wanganui, but also some who worked part time, for some spare cash.