We have sponsored a kea – Hipi Pukepuke

Kea – New Zealand’s alpine treasure

They are the only alpine parrot on the planet, are highly intelligent and inquisitive with beautifully coloured plumage. Unfortunately, they are endangered with numbers of only a few thousand surviving.


Photo of Hipi Pukepuke.

Once commonly sighted in the Cass Valley and on Flock Hill, but now rarely seen, here at Flock Hill we have decided to lend our support by adopting a kea – Hipi Pukepuke, a young female fledgling.

Our sponsorship of Hipi Pukepuke (Maori translation of Flock Hill) goes towards trapping of predators such as stoats and wild cats. Kea are particularly vulnerable because they nest in holes in the ground.

Adopting Hipi Pukepuke is the least we can do to help efforts to restore the kea population. As the bird on the $20 note, kea hold a special place in New Zealand folklore. Its plumage is generally an olive – emerald green edged with black and bright orange and barred yellow and black feathers are normally hidden on the underside of its wings. Other colours on the kea include a beautiful royal blue on the top surface of each wings long flight feathers and red/orange on the rump (tail) feathers.

Flock Hill takes its environmental responsibility seriously and sponsorship of the kea is just part of our overall stewardship of the land that includes having a viable productive farm without compromising the pristine nature of the area.

Hipi has been spotted 15 times since adoption. All these sightings have been in the Bealey Valley, near Arthur’s Pass, approximately 20km as the Kea files from Flock Hill. We are ever hopeful she will drop in for a visit one of these days!

Follow where Hipi Pukepuke’s been sighted on her own web page

By Tim Heine, Flock Hill Lodge manager

Photo credit: Corey Mosen


Wilding Pine programme helping Flock Hill

After a 10-year campaign I think we are finally winning the battle again Wilding Pine at Flock Hill.

This has not always been the case, but in the last 12 months such has been the combined efforts of a large group of people that I can see light at the end of the tunnel.

Wilding Pine is a New Zealand-wide problem with approximately 1.8 million hectares affected with a rate of spread of about 90,000 hectares per year.

We are fortunate here at Flock Hill that we are supported by WELRA, the Waimakariri Ecological and Landscape Restoration Alliance, and they have been the catalyst behind a campaign to eradicate Wilding Pine in the Waimakariri and Cass basins.

Investment from the Ministry of Primary Industries, with support from DOC and volunteers, meant we could undertake an extensive campaign through summer and early autumn. At its peak, we had up to 70 working on the ground, three helicopters with boom sprayers and two bulldozers working in unison.

As well as spraying, the bulldozers were clearing land that we will return to pasture.

It may take another 10 years to have the Wilding Pine problem at Flock Hill totally under control, but we are definitely heading in the right direction.

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By Richard Hill, Manager, Flock Hill Station