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.
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!
By Tim Heine, Flock Hill Lodge manager
Photo credit: Corey Mosen