Ngamatea Station Success

If you follow Desert Road for an hour past Taupo, avoid the temptation to turn right towards Mt Ruapehu, and instead head deeper into the North Island’s central plateau, you’ll find thriving high country – and if you’re lucky, the Ngamatea Station will be your destination. Beyond the thousands of acres of farmland (and 35,000 lambs), the station offers another 36,000 hectares of prime hunting grounds. Sika and red deer roam freely over the plateau, offering hunters no shortage of opportunities to encounter a stag.
Richard Skilton was one Aucklander lucky enough to find himself on an ATV in the Ngamatea Station high country on a recent cold Thursday afternoon. Richard is a self-titled “toilet salesman” who’s worked at Chesters Plumbing for 18 years (his real job title is, of course, far more flattering, even if he refuses to share it). Rheem’s John Bebbington (JB), the host of the hunting excursion, had extended the invite to Richard, along with plumbers Dave Good and
Paul Simpson. They’d arrived at the Station at 1pm and wasted no time getting out the rifle and beginning their search for venison.
“The deer were a bit skittish,” Richard explained. “There were deer out there, but they were just hard to shoot. We saw quite a few but finding one to shoot at was the hard part.
“The area is mostly tussock – it’s not like we were bush hunting. We covered quite a bit of ground to find the deer, but when we got a chance, we made the most of it.”
The team managed to get one deer on the board for day one and retreated to the hut for the evening in good spirits. A big advantage of choosing
Ngamatea Station is that it’s truly a one-stop-shop. Accommodation, guides, and food are all included in their hunting trips – all you have to bring is your beverage of choice, and a sleeping bag to tackle the brisk, central plateau nights.
Day two came early – even if it didn’t seem that way for those in the industry.
“We’re in the trade, so when we left the hut at 6:30am it was actually a sleep in,” Richard laughed.
“We jumped on the ATV and got chauffeured around until we found something to shoot,” he continued. “The guide is very good at what he does.”
The day went like “clockwork”. The guys spent the day exploring the high country and came back with three more deer – which meant all four of them had got on the board for the trip. Richard was typically humble about his shot.
“It was a very good easy-going trip. My deer jumped in front of the bullet, and it’s all I needed it to do,” he laughed again.
Taking home venison is obviously a huge drawcard for Ngamatea Station’s guided trips, and the guy’s made the most of the opportunity.
“The boys all had a great time and we all had something to put in the freezer when we got back – couldn’t be better. We dropped the deer off at a home kill butcher on the way back and we got the meat back the following Monday.”
When asked what his highlight was, Richard had a hard time choosing one moment.
“JB is an awesome host and Rheem do a great job of putting in those events. The highlight was the whole trip really.”
All in all, it was another successful trip, and having received the invite for two years running now, Richard is no doubt looking forward to the 2023 road trip to Ngamatea Station. Rheem know how important it is for people to get away from the day-to-day responsibilities of working life to spend time in nature, so they are proud to host several fishing and hunting excursions throughout the year – check back here in a couple of months to see what else the team has been up to!
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