NEW KEA ENCLOSURE: From left are Natureland’s Mike and Meg Rutlege, Simon Dobson from Gibbons Construction, Mayor Rachel Reese, and Mike Balm from Davis Ogilvie. Photo: Kate Russell.

New kea enclosure for Natureland

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Natureland is set to get a new kea enclosure by the end of the year, thanks to the help of some local businesses.

Construction of the 16 metre long walk-through enclosure will start this month, and it will be the biggest project Natureland has undertaken since Trustees Meg and Mike Rutledge came on board almost three years ago.

Meg says the purpose of the project is to showcase the biodiversity of the Nelson Region, and the zoo is already home to two male kea – Bruce and Jake – who will eventually be joined by some new cheeky friends, with the new enclosure being able to hold five or six birds.

“Kea are the only alpine parrot in the world, and they are notorious for coming into contact with humans,” she says.

“We wanted to put kea up front and showcase just how great they are. The biggest kea population under threat are in the Nelson region. People are not aware this is a major nesting site and we wanted to forefront the issue.”

Mike says that he has been blown away by the generosity of local business to help out with the project.

“Local engineers Davis Ogilvie didn’t ask for a cent, and Gibbons Construction agreed to project manage it at no cost, and a lot of other generous companies are helping us out, including Allied Concrete, Goldpine, PK Engineering, Complete Reinforcing and Berkett Contracting,” he says.

“The contributions make an amazing difference, and we have applied for grants to close the remaining costs.”

Project Manager Simon Dobson, from Gibbons Construction, says much of the work will take place off site, with a lot of coordination going on between companies.

“We have always been community focused and were only too happy to help – and it hasn’t been hard to find others to come on board, people jumped at the chance to lend a hand.”