Kurt Bayer

Kurt Bayer is an NZME. News Service reporter based in Christchurch.

No further action for 'kea killer' after apology

A 12-year-old may be charged by killing a rare kea during a school trip. Photo / File
A 12-year-old may be charged by killing a rare kea during a school trip. Photo / File

A 12-year-old boy who caused outrage when he killed a kea on a school ski trip has handed over the dead parrot and apologised to conservation authorities.

But the Christchurch boy will not face any further action after he and his school pledged to help conservation efforts to protect the endangered mountain parrot.

The Chisnallwood Intermediate School pupil horrified classmates and teachers when he picked up a rock and hurled it at the kea, killing it instantly on a trip to Canterbury skifield Porter Heights last Friday.

It is believed there are fewer than 5000 kea left in the Southern Alps - the only place in the world where they are found.

School principal Richard Paton - who has described his pupil's actions as "mindless" - met the boy, his parents and Department of Conservation (DOC) staff today.

DOC Arthur's Pass field centre supervisor Chris Stewart said the boy handed over the dead bird, which the school had kept after the incident, and apologised for his actions.

He said both the department and the school were keen to turn the "unfortunate incident" into a positive learning experience for all the students.

"The student and school have expressed their deep regret for the death of the kea and have offered to contribute to conservation projects and kea recovery."

Mr Stewart said the student would give a presentation on kea to the school and help local DOC staff with a project during Conservation Week in September.

The school had also pledged to initiate a whole-of-school project on kea as part of a conservation education programme.

It would investigate assembling the wooden parts of stoat traps in its science and technology classes.

The traps would help DOC's efforts at Arthur's Pass to control stoats - which, along with possums, pose a key threat to burrow-nesting kea.

Kea are protected by law, and under the Wildlife Act killing one is a criminal offence that carries a maximum fine of $100,000 or six months in prison.

But Mr Stewart said the department did not intend to take the matter any further, and he was comfortable everyone involved had learned "a valuable lesson".

"Kea are New Zealand's only alpine parrot and they are endangered. They need all of our help to give them the best chance of survival."

Mr Paton yesterday said he did not think the boy had any malice and was "as shocked as anybody" that it hit and killed the kea.

"The boy involved is very remorseful, but there will be some consequences for his actions.

"The other students on the trip were as upset as anybody and they also feel let down by the mindless actions of one person."

- APNZ

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