Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


DOC welcomes the conviction of a Richmond man for killing a kea and says it is an important reminder that killing legally protected kea is unacceptable.

Date:  23 January 2019

Stephen Frost, 46, was sentenced today in the Nelson District Court to 150 hours of community work on charges of unlawfully hunting or killing absolutely protected wildlife, namely a kea, and of disposing of the kea without authority, in breach of the Wildlife Act 1953. He pleaded guilty to the charges.

Kea were frequently seen in the area of 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 observed throwing objects at kea on a number of occasions, which he said was to scare them away, and shouting at them and generally displaying hostility towards them.

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

The kea died as a result of its injuries. Frost wrapped the dead kea 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 very 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.

“The Kea Conservation Trust has a Conflicts Resolution Co-ordinator based in Nelson Tasman and runs a programme to provide practical help on kea proofing property and work sites. It also advises on how to avoid kea hanging around. In most cases, it results in favourable outcomes for property owners and kea.”

Information about practical kea proofing solutions can be found on the Kea Conservation Trust website

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.


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