2019 Kea Summit

The Kea Conservation Trust’s second Kea conference (Kea Summit), was held at the Distinction Hotel in Te Anau on Saturday 30th November - Sunday 1st December 2019. The Kea Summit aimed to bring people together from around NZ and beyond, to present current knowledge on kea status, threats and conservation measures and, to provide a forum for networking, sharing information, brainstorming conservation strategies and generating community action to save our most charismatic and endangered mountain parrot, the kea.

Just under 100 people attended the 2 day Summit which was held at the Distinction Hotel in Te Anau. The conference was opened by Stewart Bull of Oraka Aparima runungu o Ngai Tahu, Tamsin Orr-Walker (KCT) and Lou Sanson (DOC). KCT Patron Peter Hillary opened the presentations with a personal view on life in the Southern Alps with kea and the very real concerns of life without them in a rapidly changing world and was then followed by an exceptional list of speakers covering a wide range of topics including the latest scientific findings, community partnerships and discussions on the future for kea.  A list of speakers and topics can be found below.

The 2019 Kea Summit was run by the Kea Conservation Trust with support from Ngai Tahu, Department of Conservation and the Te Anau community.

Summit Programme


  1. Kea First Aid - treatment and transport protocols: Community training workshop supporting injured/sick kea.
  2. Community trapping  - how to kea proof your traps: Kea are re-knowned for getting into kill and leg hold traps; often with fatal results. Find out how the pros keep kea out of a range of commonly used traps.
  3. Advocacy and education - key messaging for kea conservation.
  4. Threats and their mitigation.

Post Summit Field trips

Dr Laura Young and DOC Te Anau will be running a field trip (weather permitting) on Monday directly after the weekend conference. This will be a full-day trip along the stunning Milford Highway and out to Milford Sound, stopping at all the points of interest along the way. This is an excellent chance to see kea and learn about human-kea conflict issues and visit sites at Homer Tunnel etc. KCT and DOC staff may also try to catch and band kea and test blood lead levels (if the opportunity arises) so this is a great opportunity to see how this is done in the field. Removal of lead from behind Homer Tunnel (for anyone who is keen!). Bring your own lunch.

Speakers and Topics

The following speakers presented at the Summit (for details on speakers and talk topics, visit our Summit Speakers page);

  • Peter Hillary (KCT Patron) - The call of the Southern Alps - the kea's chorus. A personal perspective.
  • Dave Hansford (QSM - Freelance Journalist) - Fire hoses, fake news and future shock: Why facts no longer work.
  • Jamie MacAuley (DOC) - Kea and landscape scale predator control at (very) remote sites.
  • Josh Kemp (DOC)- New kea survey tool for monitoring long term changes in kea abundance and distribution.
  • Dr Lynn Miller (Bird Rescue NZ) - Lead: A critical view.
  • Todd Jenkinson and Maigan  Thompson (Zoo and Aquarium Association) - Not Preaching to the Converted – Using Social Science to Develop and Deliver Advocacy Messaging.
  • Heather Arnold (Nelson Forests) - "No, we're not feeding kea!"
  • Amalia Bastos (University of Auckland) - Probabilistic reasoning in kea.
  • Dr Pauline Howard BVSc (South Island Wildlife Hospital)- South Island Wildlife Hospital - caring for kea.
  • Lydia McLean (University of Canterbury) - Behavioural differences between kea populations
  • Maggie Nichols (ZIP - Predator Ecologist) - Kea research with a focus on mitigating risk from aerial 1080 operations.
  • Jason Taiaroa (Nga Whenua Rahui) - A collaborative approach to conservation; utilising multiple agencies to achieve common goals.
  • Roy Sloan and Stuart Hamlett (Fiordland Wapiti Foundation and Paradise Valley Springs) - The birth of hunter conservation and community collaboration.
  • David Sutherland and Candace Borchert (Whoa Studios) - Using creativity to engage children in kea conservation.
  • Dr Laura Young (KCT) - Lead survey results and what we're learning from the Kea Sightings Database.
  • Andrea Goodman (KCT) - Are we doing enough to save our kea? Where our legislation is falling short.
  • Tom Goodman (KCT) - Kea monitoring outcomes in Mt Aspiring and Fiordland National Parks.
  • Tamsin Orr-Walker (KCT) - Thinking big to save our threatened species.
  • Josh Kemp (DOC) and Dr Laura Young (DOC) - What is driving kea decline in edgy eastern forests?


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