The SPCA says it is disappointed to learn of a large group of people throwing a dead possum around at a Coromandel park with children present.
A video was supplied to 1 News of the incident, which reportedly took place yesterday at a park in Kuaotunu Bay.
A large group of people can be seen in the video, with both adults and children present, and they are divided into two sides on the park.
They can be seen picking a dead possum by the tail and taking turns hurling it back and forth, to applause and cheering from the people gathered.
One person can be heard saying "we've got guts coming out", while another says "this is so wrong - it's fantastic".
SPCA Head of Inspectorate Tracy Phillips took a dim view of the activity, saying while it's not illegal to play with a dead animal in this fashion, it doesn't set a great example for children.
"While throwing a dead animal is not an offence under the animal welfare act, it is sad and irresponsible of the adults present to behave like this at all and even worse to do so in front of children," Mr Phillips said.
"SPCA are providing books in schools to help children learn to read and simultaneously encourage empathy and care towards animals.
"Having adults leading this sort of behaviour undoes a lot of good work about kindness, caring and empathy."
In 2010, Colyton School in Manawatu was criticised for setting up a possum throwing contest, with several people asking that the practice be stopped.