“I was born to hunt and knew that fact right from my infant years,” says Don Patterson. That conviction led him to become a professional hunter. In his youth, Patterson hunted ducks and big game with his father in the valley of his dreams, Rakaia Valley. In his thirties, Patterson met Gary Joll who became his mentor and is to this day.
Patterson’s operation exclusively hunts New Zealand game in the Southern Alps on 25,500 acres of privately-owned land in the Rakaia Valley and remote wilderness areas to the west. His favorites are the New Zealand red stags and bull tahr. He also offers hunts for fallow deer, chamois, Alpine goat, arapawa ram, elk and boar. Patterson says what sets Manuka Point Lodge apart is their passion for continuing to define what he calls the “art” of hunting.
“The hunting ranch has traditionally been the ‘go-to’ hunting grounds since the first settlers arrived in New Zealand,” Patterson explains. “Over the last hundred years or so we have had governor generals, gentry of the aristocracy and many dignitaries hunt here. Books have been written on red stags and Manuka Point in the Rakaia Valley South Island New Zealand. To continue the tradition, I have involved my two sons in our business. I trained Will, 31, as a guide and he completed the Professional Hunters academy course. My eldest son, Ben, 32, who is a commercial bush pilot, operates a Cessna 206. Eight years ago, my wife, Julie, and I completed a magnificent purpose-built hunting lodge totally dedicated and outfitted specifically for hunting.”
Patterson’s favorite rifle is the Montana Rifle Co. Colorado Buck Special Edition .300 Win Mag. because he is confident it will handle anything.
His sixteen years of guiding have produced various adventures. “Every hunt I have had the pleasure of guiding has been memorable,” says Patterson. “Being able to fulfill someone’s dream of hunting a magnificent red stag, or the ability to hunt a mighty bull tahr in the heart of the Southern Alps is a true honor. Special times were hunting on the shoulder of some prominent international hunters and taking the widest red stag ever recorded.”
Manuka Point also offers scenic flying trips. The best way to view the Southern Alps and many glaciers is with Ben in the Cessna 206. Viewing Mount Cook, the highest mountain, is a spectacular trip. Personalized chauffer driven scenic road tours, including a two-day stopover in the resort town of Queenstown, are popular.
Manuka Point is involved in local conservation, education, anti-poaching and health services. As a member of the New Zealand Hunting Guides Association, Patterson was instrumental in establishing the Professional Hunter’s Academy that trains and educates numerous professional hunters annually. Patterson has been an SCI member since 1999 and Manuka Point has exhibited at Convention and donated to SCI since 2002. Patterson was the South Pacific representative on the Exhibitor Advisory Group for several years. He is a Master Measurer scoring trophies for the SCI Record Book and has hosted SCI management staff members.