23 Jan 2019

Richmond man admits killing kea at work site

4:56 pm on 23 January 2019

A 46 year-old Richmond man has been convicted for killing a native bird by throwing a wooden builders peg at it and standing on its head.

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Supplied Photo: supplied

Stephen Frost was sentenced in the Nelson District Court today to 150 hours of community work for killing a kea, which was making loud noise on his work site.

He pleaded guilty to charges of killing protected wildlife and disposing of a kea without authority, which is in breach of the Wildlife Act 1953.

This is only the second conviction for the killing of a kea.

Kea were frequently seen near the Motueka Valley construction site where Frost worked and had caused some damage to equipment.

The court was told, that despite being aware of the protected status of kea, Frost had been seen throwing objects and shouting at the birds on several occasions.

On 18 July kea were being noisy on the roof of a shipping container. Frost threw a 30cm wooden builder's peg at a kea, knocking it off the container. Frost then stood on the injured kea's head which he said would put it out of its misery.

The kea died as a result of its injuries. Frost wrapped it in a sheet of black plastic and put it in a skip bin.

DOC Motueka operations manager Mark Townsend said DOC viewed harming of kea seriously and it would not be tolerated.

"Kea have a conservation status of nationally endangered with their numbers estimated to be less than 5000 - a fraction of what their numbers once were. They need our help to ensure their survival.

"If people are concerned about kea behaviour around their property or work site they should contact DOC or the Kea Conservation Trust."

He said the trust had a conflicts resolution co-ordinator based in Nelson Tasman who could provide practical help on kea proofing property and work sites. The trust also advises on how to avoid kea hanging around. "In most cases, it results in favourable outcomes for property owners and kea."

The offence of hunting or killing absolutely protected wildlife carries a maximum penalty of up to two years' imprisonment or a fine of up to $100,000, or both.