Playground aims to distract mischievous kea
Thursday, October 16, 2014 at 10:02
City Parrots in Conflict, Fun, Nestor notabilis - Kea, Training

A kea playground has been set up to stop them from damaging equipment at a logging site.A kea playground is being trialled at a logging site in St Arnaud in a bid to keep the cheeky parrots entertained and stop them from damaging equipment.

The experiment, thought to be a first for the country, is being overseen by Andrea Goodman.

Goodman was recently appointed to help resolve conflicts between humans and kea by the Kea Conservation Trust.

Her focus is to work with people towards resolving issues with kea. This usually involves visiting sites and coming up with practical recommendations to resolve conflict.

Her role is believed to be unique in New Zealand.

A kea attempts to eat part of a car.Goodman has only been in the part-time job for a few weeks and has spoken with people in Murchison, Takaka, the Motueka Valley, Marahau and St Arnaud areas.

Kea, New Zealand's endemic alpine parrot, are endangered species. There are only 5000 birds left, all of which are in the South Island.

They are intelligent birds and can cause trouble due to their curious nature and penchant for damaging equipment and cars.

Goodman said the kea playground has been set up at a Nelson Forest's logging site. It was hoped the entertainment area would occupy kea and keep them away from forestry equipment.

A range of the kea toys have been donated by Natureland, Wellington Zoo and Willowbank and placed on the playground's frame. Motion sensor cameras set up at the site show kea already interacting with the playground.

The frame was made in Otira in Arthur's Pass for the Kea Conservation Trust.

"We have a couple of them and we have just started using them to see if it's going to be effective."

Goodman said some steps forestry companies could take to deter kea could be as simple not leaving food scraps around, blocking holes in vehicles and covering wires in hosing. Each site would be different.

"I can also provide specific recommendations to help towards resolving issues at each site.

"The main thing is that people can give us a call if they do have issues."

Goodman has worked with kea in the past and has a masters in ecology and a post graduate diploma in wildlife management.

She moved to the Motueka Valley from St Arnaud with her family earlier this year. Her role is funded by the Department of Conservation's Community Conservation Partnerships Fund and Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens.

She has been impressed with the attitudes of people she has worked with already.

"Despite the damage that kea can cause, people generally have their best interests in mind. Kea are a special bird."

Anyone wanting assistance can contact Goodman on 021 039 4214 or by email at goodman.henderson Reports of issues can also be entered on the Kea Conservation Trust Website at

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