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Community - Kea Project (2015-2017)

Celebrating communities helping their kea

This project has been a huge success with increased awareness and support among communities around the South Island for their local kea populations and a commitment by these communities to move forward with the positive works developed to date.

Two years after the project was initiated, the following has been achieved:

  • 9 community project plans developed;
  • 3 meetings held in each of the 9 communities (inclusive of the 2016 and 2017 Winter Advocacy Tours);
  • the first ever Kea conference organised and held in Arthur's Pass  involving 22 presenters delivering 24 talks, 1 panel discussion and 5 community workshops to 100 attendees;
  • at least 1 and up to 3 community initiatives developed in 8 out of the 9 communities;
  • over 330 hours of volunteer time to coordinate the project (@5.5 hrs/wk for 15 months) and a conservative estimate of between 50 -  500 hours volunteer time from each of the community initiatives (raising either funds, awareness, starting up marketing campaigns or helping with field work, media, events and care of sick and injured kea) South Island wide;
  • just under 300 individuals and businesses involved in meetings;
  • a total of $126,648.93 additionally raised for 15 community- kea conservation initiatives from at least 18 individuals/groups. Many more people have contributed to these funds via our Give a Little page so cannot be individually acknowledged.

Some of the major projects which have come out of the 2-year programme include 3 community kea survey/monitoring projects developed or facilitated (Stuart Mountains, Fiordland; Hawdon Valley, Arthurs Pass; Matukituki Valleys, Mt Aspiring NP); the largest community-driven sightings programme initiated (FWF kea sightings across 230,000 ha); development of a community-driven kea database (by the APKT); initiation of discussions relating to changes in the Wildlife Act to better protect kea; seed funding of the Arthur's Pass de-leading programme; development of a South Island wide community support network for sick and injured kea and facilitation of the South Island Forestry Guidelines to protect kea.


Community - Kea Project plans:

Each of these areas has been identified as having resident populations of kea which are struggling to survive as a direct result of human practices. The aim of the community projects is to find long-term solutions which enable kea populations to thrive, conflict-free, alongside South Island communities (click on the map on the right to view each area).


Who's helping their local kea?

The following individuals, groups and companies have joined the kea revolution and are putting their money where their mouths are by driving, funding and facilitating some great kea projects around the country. We encourage you to support them in their efforts and please share around!


Lower West Coast (Haast - Okarito)

  • SkyDive Franz - Skydive Franz, an adventure tourism operator located in Franz Josef and the Kea ConservationTrust have a three-year partnership (Dec 2015 - Nov 2018) which will see the skydive company help fund and promote ongoing research and conservation work. The first people to try out the rebranded 19,000 ft KEA JUMP, the highest tandem skydive in NZ, was Labour Leader, Andrew Little and our very own Corey Mosen, KCT Field Coordinator.

If you would like to fundraise for us by Skydiving for Kea for free (!!) then please get in touch with us. The only requirement is that you would have to set up a 'Give a Little' page and raise a minimum amount in order to jump. Please private message us for more information.

To date over $9,000 has been raised for West Coast kea!! Thanks, Skydive Franz for supporting kea conservation!!


Arthur's Pass - Canterbury

  • Arthur's Pass Kea Conservation Project - developed by three volunteer kea enthusiasts, Dr Laura Young, George Moon and Mark Brabyn, this project provides opportunities for everyone to get involved in saving Arthur's Pass kea! Over $50,000 has been raised for this project!!
  • 2017 Kea Konvention - Arthur's Pass hosted the first Kea Konvention in the village on the weekend of the 29-30 April. This exciting event brought together kea enthusiasts from around the country and was sponsored by FMC and supported by DOC Arthur's Pass and the Arthur's Pass Wildlife Trust.
  • Canterbury Ski fields - all of the Canterbury ski fields have KCT donation boxes on site collecting donations from their visitors during the winter season. This is a fantastic annual effort from Porter Heights, Mt Hutt, Temple Basin,  Craigeburn, Cheeseman, Broken River and Mt Olympus.

Queenstown And Surrounds

  • Vet Ent Queenstown and the Kiwi Birdlife Park - a collaboration to treat lead poisoned and injured kea fromSouthland, Otago and Westland.
  • The Rees Hotel  - the hotel launched its Gilbert the kea mascot programme - raising funds for kea conservation in the Wakatipu area. Over $1400 has been raised to date.
Lead poisoned kea at Ventent

Wanaka - Mt Aspiring NP

  • Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund (AZCF) - the zoo is funding monitoring of kea in the Matukituki Valleys, Mt Aspiring NP. Additional funds from local philanthropist, Craig Butcher, have enabled purchasing of necessary monitoring equipment (kea transmitters and nest cameras) for this project.
  • Copper Keas! - Wanaka artist, Martin Donaghue, is raising awareness and donating funds to support kea from his sales of his unique and beautiful copper keas! Check them out!
  • Treble Cone banding programme - initiated by kea researcher Paul van Klink, this programme aims to provide re-sightings of banded kea in the local area. Paul is also part of a mentoring programme for youth keen on conservation of kea in the Wanaka area!

Te Anau – Fiordland

  • Fiordland Wapiti Foundation (FWF) – This annual sightings project captures information on kea presence and absence over 200,000 ha of Fiordland Wilderness.  This is the biggest community sightings project which will provide long-term information on Fiordland kea for many years to come! Over 200 separate presence/absence sightings were returned by wapiti hunters during the March 2016 Bugle and this fantastic effort will be repeated again during the 2017 Bugle. The information from this project will be used to direct kea conservation initiatives in the local area and will also increase our knowledge of kea status and movements within hard to get to Wilderness areas. An interactive map with all the sightings data is available to view on the Fiordland Kea Sightings project page. Thanks to Paradise Valley Springs for initiating this partnership between the FWF and the KCT.
  • Paradise Valley SpringsClever Kiwi Company and Nga Whenua Rahui – Each of these groups have provided funds (just under $20,000, just under $10,000 and just over $4,000 respectively) to support the first year of Kea Monitoring in the Stuart Mountains
  • Department of Conservation – Fiordland – Three large Kea Conservation Trust signs were set up at Homer Tunnel, The Chasm and Gertrude Saddle carpark to help spread the word about how to protect the areas vulnerable kea. As with other areas where there is high tourist traffic, kea are impacted by the negative impacts of human behaviour. Education is key to reversing this trend. An Iron Ranger specifically for kea donations was also set up at Homer Tunnel to help fund local kea projects. Thanks DOC!
Paradise Valley Springs logo
  • Coffee Cat – its fantastic to see small local businesses getting on board and encouraging their customers to support kea. The Fiordland Coffee Cat, operating along the Milford Rd at the Chasm and Homer Tunnel, raised $2,300 from customers loose change!

Upper West Coast

  • Wilderness Gallery (Hokitika) –  $754.50 has been raised through the shops kea donation box and the sale of theirbeautiful kea art blocks! Check them out.
  • Te Araroa Trail to Save Kea project – The Buller Tramping Club walked over 1,400 km of the Te Araroa Trail in March – May 2017 to raise funds for kea. Close to $2,500 was raised by these epic ladies! Visit their blog to see how their adventure unfolded!
  • Buller Library – The Buller library hosted two community meetings and kea talks and raised $350.90 for a kea transmitter. Thank you!

Golden Bay – Motueka and Nelson Lakes – Murchison

  • Forest Owners Association (NZFOA) – A draft kea and forestry protocol which will help protect kea at forestry sites South Island wide is currently being developed. This important initiative was initiated by PF Olsen Tasman Pine and Nelson Forests Ltd in collaboration with the KCT and shows just how committed these organisations are to kea conservation.

Nelson Lakes

  • Rotoiti Water Taxis – raising funds for kea transmitters to support local kea monitoring at the KCT survey site in St Arnaud. Over $400 has been raised by this one operator to date.
  • St Arnaud Mountain Film Festival – raised $1000 for their local kea!

Other Initiatives

  • Boost New Media – The Wildlife Tracker project was started in 2015 as part of a Start Up weekend initiative put forward by KCT Chair, Tamsin Orr-Walker. Boost picked up the concept, a kea – wildlife sightings phone app, to make kea sightings in the wild as easy as taking a photo on your phone and created the first edition of the Wildlife Tracker.
  • Ostler Wines – Snow bird (Otago)
  • Pride Wines – Alpine label

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