Nelmac’s Jude Abel plants a fern in Queens Gardens. Photo: Jonty Dine.

Teaming up to save our kea


If we are to save the planet, we must do it together.

A team of Nelson conservationists has adopted this mantra and teamed up to help protect one of the region’s most iconic native birds.

Nelmac has announced a partnership with the Department of Conservation (DOC), the Kea Conservation Trust (KCT), and Ngati Kuia to help protect New Zealand’s endangered kea – the world’s only mountain parrot.

Key members of the collaboration gathered at Queens Park on Friday morning where they planted ferns in the gardens to symbolise their commitment to the environment.

The partnership will see Nelmac provide at least $60,000 of financial support to KCT and DOC’s kea recovery initiatives over the next three years.

Nelmac’s support will focus on lead removal from DOC buildings in kea habitat in Tasman, kea surveys, KCT’s community conflict resolution programme and general operational costs.

DOC Motueka operations manager Chris Golding says kea chew on the lead nails and flashing because it’s soft, easy to access and tastes sweet to them.

“It accumulates in the body causing brain damage, organ failure and various other physiological problems.

“Many kea that have ingested lead eventually die as a direct result of ingesting the toxic heavy metal.”

He says Nelmac’s contributions will go a long way to eradicating this issue for kea.

CEO Jane Sheard says the kea has an iconic presence in the Nelson region and Nelmac will commit to protect, restore and sustain the precious bird.

“Without the work we all do to nurture mother nature, mother nature cannot nurture human nature.”

She says it is becoming increasingly urgent to help save the last 5000 kea and restore their numbers.