Lead Removal from buildings within kea habitat - Jobs for Nature - Mahi mō te Taiao

What’s the issue with lead?

Lead poisoning has been identified as a major threat to kea throughout their range. This project aims to reduce the incidence of lead poisoning in kea by removing lead head nails and flashings from buildings in front country sites where kea frequent, and replacing with non-toxic alternatives. This will effectively remove, permanently, a significant source of mortality, from a large portion of the kea population, forever. Lead is accessible to kea as paint, flashings and nail heads in many buildings that were built prior to the 1990s and in lead shot used by hunters. Monitoring by DOC, researchers, wildlife vets and the KCT since 2006 has shown that lead toxicity in kea is widespread throughout the species range, wherever kea and humans overlap (McInnes, 2010). In 2017 the KCT launched a lead testing and removal programme to address this issue. Over 440 individual kea have been tested within this project (to the end of March 2021) and a number of hotspots for lead removal identified.

The Project

This project will look to remove lead flashings and lead nailheads in the roofs of buildings in areas where it is accessible to kea and replace it with safe, non-toxic alternatives. The focus of our work will be on predominantly privately owned buildings at front country sites (i.e. around human habitation) which are known hotspots for lead poisoning in kea.

This service will be FREE to landowners.

Project Locations

Known hotspots for lead poisoning in kea will be the focus of this project. These will include the following key sites:

  • Top of the South: Golden Bay, Tasman, Murchison, St Arnaud.
  • Central: Arthur’s Pass village and surrounds, Aoraki/Mt Cook, Matukituki Valleys, Mt Aspiring National Park.
  • West Coast: Okarito, Franz Josef, Fox Glacier, Haast.
  • Southern: Milford Rd, Milford Sounds and Te Anau area

If additional lead hotspots are found as a result of ongoing blood lead testing work, the project area will be extended to ensure risk to kea is removed.

Project Timeframe

This is a two-year project (Sept 2021 – December 2023) which from the beginning of October to the end of April annually will see our de-leading teams being trained up and deployed to remove lead nail heads and flashings.

From May – to the end of September each year, surveys will be carried out in each location to identify sources of lead and plans made in collaboration and partnership with DOC, iwi, communities, individual property owners and conservation groups to remove lead the following spring.

Our Partners

We couldn’t do this project without the funding and in-kind support from our Lead Free Kea partners! We are currently working on some exciting partnerships and will update this page shortly. In the meantime, a massive thanks to the following organisations and individuals:

  • Jobs for Nature - Mahi mō te Taiao - $950,000 for employment and training of personnel to remove lead throughout kea habitat and for purchase of PPE and non-toxic materials to replace lead.
  • The New Zealand Lottery Grants Board - $43,162 for replacement non-toxic materials
  • Department of Conservation (in-kind support)
  • John Darcy (in-kind support)
  • Keas of the St Joseph Scout Group, Upper Hut

Dimond Roofing - Provision of non-toxic replacement materials (at cost) and free delivery!

At Dimond Roofing (part of the Fletcher Steel family of brands) we work nationwide manufacturing steel roofing for use in some of our toughest conditions. With a playground as good as the New Zealand wilderness, Dimond is committed to do its bit to help protect and preserve. Lead toxicity in Kea is a problem with a clear solution, so we’re stoked to be helping the Kea Conservation Trust by providing (lead free!) product, technical expertise and a genuine desire to do good. The dedicated team at Kea achieve wonderful things tirelessly and without reward, so I consider it privilege to be involved and do our small bit to help.

Nicholas Wheadon (Head of Sales, Fletcher Steel)

Helping Endangered Kea

The New Zealand Lottery Grants Board - Environment and Heritage fund has provided $43,162 for replacement non-toxic materials and to support our teams getting to lead removal sites and working safely at heights.

Te Whare O Kea is a dedicated social enterprise which supports the Kea Conservation Trust and the de-leading programme.

Denver Zoo - $3,995 towards replacement non-toxic roofing materials.

Goodlids - Goodlids is a label that prides itself on the design of headwear that is groovy, sustainable and serves its purpose to accompany you on your adventures in the great outdoors.

Our Team

Project Coordinator – Peter Fraser

Peter has 20 years of experience working within conservation advocating for wildlife and managing large budget projects locally and internationally. He has a particular passion for kea being one of the KCT's founding trustees back in 2006. Peter's past positions include Conservation Officer at Auckland Zoo and Conservation Manager at Wellington Zoo. Peter lives in Christchurch and is looking forward to working with communities around the South Island to remove lead permanently; one of the biggest threats to kea.

Peace of Mind - Keeping You and your Buildings Safe

We understand that your property is one of the most important assets you will ever own. As such we will ensure all care is taken to ensure your roof's integrity is maintained;

  • Our project Roofing Team Leader (a Licenced Building Practitioner – Roofing), will oversee all lead removal and replacement work to ensure a high standard of work is carried out.
  • All building works will be protected under our insurance policy.
  • All roofing personnel will be trained by our Roofing Team Leader to a high standard and will have completed a Working at Heights course (NZQA Level 3) to ensure their safety while working on your roof.
  • All personnel will be provided with safety information and PPE to ensure safe handling and disposal of lead to avoid the possibility of lead poisoning or contamination of the environment.

Find out if your property qualifies for a free de-leading

Get your free, confidential site assessment today! Just send us your property address and your contact details to our Project Coordinator, Peter Fraser (peter.fraser@keaconservation.nz) and we will be in touch.

For more details on the Lead Removal Project overall, and the impact of lead on kea, please visit our Lead Removal Initiative and our Project Outcomes page.

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