Archives For kea

New Zealand’s birds aren’t known for being particularly savvy when it comes to defending themselves from introduced predators.

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Anja Scholz tells us about her experience volunteering as an assistant hut warden along the Heaphy Track.

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We look back at our native species that have captured the attention of the internet world this year.

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By Michelle Crouchley, Partnerships Ranger, Te Anau

Following a career spanning 30 years of service to conservation, Te Anau Wildlife Park ranger Carol Gardner, has retired from DOC.

Carol feeding a kea.

Carol and one of the keas she has known since it was an egg!

‘The big break’

Carol started working in conservation so long ago that she can’t even remember the date! It all began when she started to look for work outside of her role as mother to her four children. She was married to a farmer, and at the time many employers would not consider taking on someone in her position. When Carol mentioned she was looking for work to Lands and Survey Department staff Russell Montgomery and John Clark, they offered her a job working on tracks in the Tuatapere area. Carol describes this as her ‘big break’ and will always be thankful to Russell and John for giving her that opportunity. Reflecting on this moment, Carol said “the decisions you make about other people can change their lives and we should never forget how much influence we can have on other people.”

Carol’s career has seen her doing many different jobs in many different places throughout Fiordland. In the late 70’s and early 80’s she was part of a project building tracks in Fiordland National Park.

Carol’s walking companions.

Carol’s walking companions

‘Funny moments’

Carol has fond memories of working in the Hollyford Valley with John Clark. One day the fridge broke down and they had to carry it out. John shouldered the fridge and Carol walked in front, as they passed trampers John would explain his strange load by saying “I’ve got the ice; she’s got the gin!”

She then moved to Te Anau and took on a job looking after an area that spanned from Milford Sound to Mavora Lakes; it would take her three hours to drive from one end of her beat to the other!

During this time Carol was responsible for landscaping outside Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre and caretaking in the now council owned Ivon Wilson Park. For the past 24 years she has been  taking care of our feathered friends at Te Anau’s Wildlife Park.

Carol leading a tour of the Te Anau Wildlife Park.

Carol leading a tour of the Te Anau Wildlife Park

‘What will you miss most about working at DOC?’

Carol formed a deep affection for the park’s birds. She has cared for the two resident kea since they were eggs. They are now mature 25 year old birds. She hand-reared the Canadian Geese that reside in the waterfowl enclosure and has looked after all the other birds that have lived in the park: weka, kereru, pateke, ruru, parakeets, kaka, paradise shelducks and takahe. Carol found her calling as an advocate for our native birds. It is the birds at the Te Anau Wildlife Park that Carol will miss the most now she has left DOC.

Carol’s retirement cake.

Carol’s retirement cake

‘What’s next?’

Carol’s contribution to the Department will not end with her retirement as she intends to continue her service by volunteering. She also intends to spend lots of time hanging out with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, walking her dogs and tramping.

Carol giving resident kākā, Charlie Brown, her breakfast.

Carol giving resident kākā, Charlie Brown, her breakfast

The kea, named by Maori for the sound of its call, is endemic to the Southern Alps of New Zealand and is the world’s only mountain parrot.

Today’s photo of the week is of two kea in Arthur’s Pass National Park showing off their beautiful coloured feathers.

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Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith announced yesterday that $90,000 from the Community Conservation Partnership Fund would go to supporting the Kea Conservation Trust.

This support will allow the trust to continue its work to ensure this endangered iconic species will continue to be enjoyed by future generations.

Photo by Geof Wilson | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Arthur’s Pass recently celebrated 150 years since the European opening of the route that linked the east coast to the gold fields in the west.

The official opening the new Arthur’s Pass Walking Track was one of the events that marked the occasion.

DOC Ranger Tom Williams, writes:

DOC Director-General, Lou Sanson, speaking at the official opening of the Arthur's Pass walking track.

DOC Director-General, Lou Sanson, speaking at the official opening of the Arthur’s Pass Walking Track

150 years ago today (or thereabouts), in a time when an ‘epic’ was just a part of everyday life, the Dobson brothers stumbled across a pass linking the east coast to the gold fields in the west. That pass was Arthur’s Pass.

Legend has it that Arthur’s Pass isn’t named after Arthur Dudley Dobson as such, but rather that someone remarked that Arthur’s pass was the most suitable pass for direct travel to the west.

The name stuck, and Arthur’s Pass became one of only two places in New Zealand to have an apostrophe! (The other is Hawke’s Bay.)

Celebrations of this feat of discovery occurred over the weekend and resulted in the population of the pass swelling by over 400%.

Cutting the ribbon! Minister for the Environment, Amy Adams, and Zeb Patterson (the great, great, great, grandson of Arthur Dudley Dobson), open the Arthur’s Pass Walking Track

Cutting the ribbon! Minister for the Environment, Amy Adams, and Zeb Patterson (the great, great, great, grandson of Arthur Dudley Dobson), open the Arthur’s Pass Walking Track

Festivities commenced on the Friday night with the unveiling of a bronze kea statue. As we unveiled the taonga, a member of the audience did a sterling haka, and a real kea flew over us.

Arthur’s Pass is one of the best places in New Zealand to see these amazing birds.

Kea.

Arthur’s Pass is one of the best places in New Zealand to see kea.

In typical Arthur’s Pass fashion, the main attraction—the official opening of the Arthur’s Pass walking track—was accompanied by clear skies and warm weather.

The creation of the new track, however, was no easy feat. DOC staff, and the contractors constructing the track, had to cope with the extremes of local weather.

So far the track has coped with many deluges of rain, gale force winds, blistering sun, a minus 17 degree frost, and a 2 metre snow dump!

Testing out the new Arthur's Pass Walking Track.

Many people took the opportunity to take a guided walk of the track and discover some of the magical flora and fauna of the pass

For those travelling to other places through the Pass, the route travelled has changed significantly from what it was 150 years ago.

Back then the journey took a long time. Once the coach road was constructed (can you believe that they managed to build the road from east to west in one year!) the journey was reduced to four days. Today it is a pleasant two hours to Christchurch, or one hour to the West Coast.

Discover the heritage and fantastic scenery of the Arthur’s Pass walking track yourself. Further information and directions can be found on the DOC website.

There has been some good news for the cheeky kea with Dulux recently announcing they will be contributing $150,000 to the Kea Conservation Trust nest monitoring programme over the next three years as they continue to build upon their partnership with DOC.

A kea in flight displaying colourful feathers. Photo: Mat Goodman.

This photo by Mat Goodman shows the amazing colours found in kea feathers

In addition to that funding, Dulux will also be raising funds through through the sale of specially marked promotional pails of paint, with one dollar being donated to the Kea Conservation Trust with every pail purchase.

Artwork from the Dulux promotional kea paint pails.

Sample artwork for promotional pails. Look out for them at a store near you!

Dulux’s involvement in the Kea Nest Monitoring Programme means the programme can continue, and grow into other areas to improve our knowledge about how well predator control is working and how quickly kea are declining in areas without predator control.

Female kea and chick in their nest. Photo: Corey Mosen.

Female kea and chick in their nest. Photo: Corey Mosen

Dulux began working together with DOC under the Protecting Our Place partnership this year to help protect and preserve huts all around New Zealand. By supporting programmes to protect our wildlife and backcountry shelters, Dulux is helping to ensure that our future generations can experience the unique sights and sounds of New Zealand.