Inspiring communities to protect kea, New Zealand's unique mountain parrot
Our Trustees, Patron, office holders and advisors, have extensive knowledge and experience of the Southern Alps and in the fields of ornithology, conservation, captive management, research processes, animal physiology, zoology as well as strong links to the zoo industry and tertiary education providers.
Peter Hillary comes from one of the great families of mountaineering and has a history of world-class achievements in climbing.
Like his father, the late Sir Edmund Hillary, who made the first ascent of Mt Everest with his climbing partner Tenzing Norgay in 1953, Peter has summited Everest and forged a new route to the South Pole. The names Everest and Hillary are forever linked, and will always be associated with high adventure.
“I love our mountains and natural environment and for me the call of a Kea up at the snow line is one of the thrills of being in the Southern Alps. They are symbols of the Alps and it is abhorrent to think of our mountains without them and that is why I see the work of the KCT and its partners as so important”
Trustees and Office Holders
Co-founder, Trustee, Chair and Community Engagement Coordinator
MNZM; Bachelor of Applied Animal Technology; NCCWA
Tamsin is co-founder of the KCT and has been the Chair since its inception. Tamsin manages the Trusts day to day operations and coordinates the research projects. She continues to be involved in fieldwork and advocacy in the South Island and developed the 2010 Kea Husbandry Manual (endorsed by DOC) aimed at increasing the captive management standards of all kea in NZ facilities. Tamsin is also one of three KCT Community Engagement Coordinators.
Dr Nigel Adams
Co-founder and Trustee
Ph.D.; BSc (Hons); BSc
Nigel is co-founder of the KCT and an animal physiologist specializing in ornithology presently employed at Unitec, Auckland, as Senior Lecturer on the Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSci). Previous to this position Nigel held research and teaching positions at several Universities in South Africa and in Israel. Current research includes examining stress response in endemic New Zealand birds such as Grey Faced Petrel and Saddleback and surveying kea populations in Borland, Fiordland and Arthur’s Pass, Canterbury.
Dr Lorne Roberts
Co-founder and Trustee
Lorne is co-founder of the KCT. He is a Senior lecturer on the Certificate in Animal Management (Captive Wild Animals) and Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSci) at Unitec, Auckland. He also holds a position at Auckland Zoo as liaison for the Captive Wild Animal programme and is President of the Auckland Zoological Society (AZS) – the oldest society in New Zealand (1929). Previous research includes monitoring of stress responses in captive Sea lions at Auckland Zoo. Lorne has also been involved in population monitoring of kea at Nelson Lakes (2009 -2011).
Trustee and Treasurer
BSc(Hons) in Chemistry; CA (ICAEW)
Andy has practiced as an accountant since 2002, initially in a Professional Services firm in Southampton and in private industry in New Zealand since 2006. He is now based at Victoria University in Wellington.
BSc in Environmental Management
Estelle is of Ngāi Tahu, Te Whakatōhea and Ngāti Ruanui descent and has a strong background and wealth of experience in conservation and Matauranga Māori. She holds a degree in Environmental Management and is a Senior Environmental Advisor for Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu. She also holds a number of other conservation and community positions including Director on the Board of Predator 2050 and Chair of the Bluff Hill Motupōhue Environment Trust. Estelle is passionate about community and raising awareness of the threats to taonga species such as kea.
Hon. Sir Hugh Williams
LL.B; LL.M (Hons)
Hugh was an Associate Judge of the High Court of New Zealand (1989-93) and a Judge of the High Court in Auckland (1995-2010). He was made Queen’s Counsel in 1988.He was also a Palmerston North City Councillor from 1983-89 and President of the Electoral Commission from 2009-2019. Hugh has strong connections with tertiary institutions and was heavily involved with the Massey University Council for 20 yrs, 7 of these as Chancellor (1990-1997). He was also a Palmerston North City Councillor from 1983-89 and President of the Electoral Commission from X-2019. Hugh was Knighted in 2010 and is now retired from the High Court. He was a High Court Judge from 2010 to 2016 and is presently Chief Justice of the Cook Islands.
Trustee and Secretary
Bachelor of Media and Creative Technologies
Annika has been with the KCT since 2015. She fell in love with the cheeky kea during her multiple tramping holidays in New Zealand. After she moved to New Zealand in 2015, she joined the KCT team as administrator while working full-time in digital marketing. Annika became the Trusts Secretary May 2017 and Trustee in 2020. Her background is in marketing technology, digital operations and project management.
Andrea has worked on a number of off-shore islands, the back-country, the Sub-Antarctics and Papua New Guinea during her conservation work. Her work has ranged from working with volunteers, intensive species management, ecological monitoring and surveying, and pest management. She worked in the field with kea during the 1990’s at Nelson Lakes. Andrea also has project management, community and iwi liaison experience and experience in conflict resolution. Andrea is currently on the Nelson Marlborough Conservation Board.
Dr Laura Young
Field Coordinator and Community Engagement Coordinator
Ph.D(ecology); MSc(ecology); BSc (biology)
Laura completed her PhD in alpine ecology in 2012. Laura’s research showed that kea are by far the most important dispersers of seed of most mountain plants and declining kea populations may be detrimental for native plants in the long term. Laura has also been involved in a range of biodiversity monitoring, research and conservation projects – from kea to plant communities in Panama – and enjoys working with local communities to achieve conservation outcomes.
Community Engagement Coordinator
Renée Habluetzel has lived in Arthur's Pass for over 12 years so she knows firsthand what it is like to live with kea. After having tents and other outdoor gear shredded, she's developed and applied a 'boring backyard' model to protect kea. Renée has worked as a Union health and safety advocate and has experience in the retail and hospitality industry.
She is a North Canterbury Forest and Bird branch committee member and active in Arthur's Pass conservation issues.
NZCS, Diploma of Teaching (secondary)
Helen is a passionate educator with a background in science and education both inside and outside the classroom. Previously engaging with the community as an outreach educator then interpretive guide, she now enjoys linking her lifetime experiences of outdoor pursuits and remote travel to predator control and protection of our taonga. Helen has been a member of the Arthur’s Pass Wildlife Trust since 2013 and secretary of the Waimakariri Environment & Recreation Trust since 2017.
Helen has created and is delivering the ‘Kea for Kids’ Road show to primary schools around the South Island, engaging the next generation with Kea and their plight.
Field Coordinator and Community Engagement Coordinator
BSc (Zoology), MSciComm (Master of Science Communication)
Lydia began working with kea in 2017 after deciding to put her tramping and mountaineering experience into conservation. She is currently working on a PhD on kea diet to identify variations between different ages, sexes, regions and lead-poisoning status. This will hopefully improve our understanding of foraging behaviour and contribute to conservation decisions. Lydia enjoys working with others to encourage a shared love of alpine ecosystems.
George was first involved with kea conservation through the Kea Sightings Project (Kea Database) from about mid-2016. He completed his honours degree in geography in 2017, with a dissertation focussing on community conservation data. With his academic background and a history working in IT, George enjoys combining his skills with his enthusiasm for the amazing New Zealand’s backcountry and its native flora and fauna. He enjoys getting out into the mountains as much as he can—whether it’s on foot, on skis or by bike.
Corey was bitten by the ‘kea bug’ in 2007 and has been involved in the species ever since. In addition to this, Corey is a talented photographer who has captured many of the images used throughout our education material and website.
Dr Andrew Fidler
PhD; MSc (1st Class Hons); BSc
Andrew has been a research advisor to the KCT since 2008. He brings experience in bird population and behavioural genetics which he gained while working as a staff scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology (Germany).
Past Trustees and Key Personnel
Tom has been involved with the Trust since 2012. It all started with a volunteer 10 day kea surveying trip in Kahurangi National Park. After that initial taste for field work he jumped at every opportunity to head for the hills and wrangle kea. Now, seven years on, Tom is one of our primary field personnel, regularly finding and monitoring kea nests in the Spring and is part of the elite catching team over Summer.
Kea Dog Extraordinaire
Conservation Dog Programme
Ajax has been working with Corey Mosen for the KCT since 2012. Ajax is an expert in finding kea nests in remote parts of the South Island. Together, Corey and Ajax make the perfect team to monitor kea and protect them from predators.