Gun owners blast Government at Taupō hunting show

Gun owners and hunting enthusiasts have gathered in Taupō for a popular hunting and trade show.

Many of the attendees have been caught up in the Government's firearms buyback - while some exhibitors have been forced to alter their displays.

There wasn't any shortage of guns today, as firearms and ammunition went on display as part of the Sika Show, an annual hunting expo named after a trophy deer that's been running for 26 years. 

But this year, hunting enthusiasts had plenty to talk about. Many of them have handed their guns back following the ban on military-style semi-automatics.

"I've seen guys in tears basically giving away their guns," one person told Newshub.

The event attracts around 6000 people each year, with more than 140 exhibitors. But organisers say the Government's gun law reforms have had a real impact this year.

"We had a couple of exhibitors that had to change the products that they're selling," says Sika Show director Mark Bridgman McMillan.

Three months since the announcement of a gun buy-back scheme - police have received more than 24,000 firearms and almost 89,000 gun parts and accessories. In return, gun owners have been given $45.4 million in compensation.

But some gun owners aren't happy about the firearms-register -  they don't think it'll work.

"Everywhere they've tried that it's a disaster," one person told Newshub.

Owning a gun in New Zealand is a privilege - not a right - according to the Government, but it's a privilege the hunting community wants to be protected.