Topic: Environment

Construction site kea killer convicted

By Te Kāea
  • South Island

Stephen Frost, 46, was sentenced today in the Nelson District Court to 150 hours of community work on charges of unlawfully killing a kea and of disposing of it without authority, in breach of the Wildlife Act 1953.

Frost pleaded guilty to the charges.

Kea were known to be 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.

The Department of Conservation (DOC) has welcomed the conviction, with DOC Motueka Operations Manager Mark Townsend saying the harming of kea is taken very seriously and would not be tolerated by the organisation.

“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 the Department of Conservation or the Kea Conservation Trust.

Information about practical kea proofing solutions can be found on the Kea Conservation Trust website www.keaconservation.co.nz.

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.