A rare, highly valued trophy red stag was shot dead in its Wairarapa deer enclosure at the weekend.
Police in Wairarapa say the incident occurred on Blue Rock Road in Martinborough between Saturday and Sunday morning.
The animal was about six years old, had 40 or more points and weighed over 200 kilograms, police said.
Senior sergeant Jen Hansen said the stag's death is a huge loss for the owner, as the rare breed was valued at over $40,000.
She's urging anyone with information about the incident to contact the police by calling 105.