By Carol Sawyer

Mt Hutt Helicopters Ltd, Methven (CEO Josh Kershaw) one of the six main 1080-poisoning helicopter companies in the South Island for many years, is reportedly out of action, flight wise. I’m told they no longer have an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) or Ag rating apparently, and are doing maintenance only. It is rumoured in the helicopter world that they were “struggling to get pilots”.

The last 1080 they dropped, as far as I know, was the Inangahua, Buller district, aerial 1080 drop in mid-2019.

I’m told they own an AS350 and a Notar. (Presumably they leased in other choppers for 1080 poison operations.)

I have also been told the Notar is in the process of being ‘parted out’ (dismantled and sold off in parts). Not sure about the AS350. Many of the parts will be embedded with 1080. Helicopter pilots tell me 1080 dust will be inside fins and the tail boom, and fine dust will be all through the working parts.

As well as this, Way to Go Heliservices Ltd, Rangiora, (CEO Rob Kittow), another major poisoner, particularly this Spring, has been for sale for at least a year I’m told… on Trademe and in aviation mags. Maybe people don’t want to buy 1080-riddled helicopters?


The other four main South Island 1080-poisoning helicopter companies are Marlborough Helicopters Ltd, Blenheim ( CEO Owen Dodson), Anderson Helicopters Ltd, Hokitika ( CEO Kevin Anderson), Central South Island Helicopters, Oamaru (CEO Gary Oakes), and Helicopters Otago Ltd ( CEO Graeme Gale).

Beck Helicopters Ltd, Eltham Taranaki, ( CEO Alan Beck) often come to the South Island to drop 1080 poison too.


‘Way to Go Heliservices’ at Makarora, Mt Aspiring National Park, 1080 poison operation, October, 2019 – Photo Carol Sawyer

Note: I report what I am told in good faith, when it is from people inside the industry whom I consider reliable, (in this case from two separate sources) and I endeavour to get my facts correct, but please bear in mind that some of this information is anecdotal.


  1. I am appalled and sad that any responsible government would actually drop such horrible poison on a beautiful land so irresponsibly where innocent tourist are exposed to this 1080 poison. What kind of human being would expose these paying visitors deadly toxin as 1080? An enemy to common decency and all life from the creator. I’m going to be telling all social media how the new Zealand dept of conservation doesn’t care poison anyone who visits new Zealand that they’re being exposed to deadly toxin and that if the choose go visit new Zealand that they’re funding this awful practice by visiting bc tourist dollars help fund this nightmare 1080 drops on wildlife.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Please do tell your friends Cheryl. Word is getting around. Why they do this is that they can … most folk believe the glossy brochures. Those who fail to dig deeper.


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