MEDIA RELEASE FROM NZSKI, QUEENSTOWN
19 September 2019. For immediate release
Conservation Week is off to a flying start for The Remarkables ski field, with the official naming of one of the seven native kea birds that have recently returned to the area.
In a major conservation win, seven of the endangered birds have now been shown to revisit their native environment at the ski field over the past 12 months, thanks to a two-year effort of predator control and habitat management by The Remarkables staff, in partnership with the local Kea Conservation Trust.
The birds – five banded and two yet to be banded – are part of the Wakatipu’s only kea monitoring scheme, with the alpine parrot rarely seen within the Queenstown Lakes District.
Last Saturday, The Remarkables’ staff Kaitiakitanga committee sought the help of visitors on the mountain to name one of the male kea. The winning name is Tāhae, which means ‘thief’ in Te Reo Māori – a nod to the bird’s tendencies to steal people’s belongings. Amy McLoughlin from Alexandra, who suggested the winning name, wins a handcrafted topographical map of the Wakatipu created by sustainably-minded artwork company The Furnace.
To coincide with Conservation Week, the Kea Conservation Trust will utilise research funding provided by NZSki to extend their monitoring efforts across the basin, at Ben Lomond. Ben Lomond is the only other site in the Wakatipu known to have kea visiting.
NZSki CEO Paul Anderson says the company is committed to enhancing habitats and increasing the kea population locally – and with combined efforts alongside the Kea Conservation Trust, the whole Queenstown district could benefit with more sightings.
“The kea is one of New Zealand’s most iconic birds, which used to be far more prevalent than now,” Anderson says. “We’re passionate about deepening our understanding of this rare and cheeky bird, and creating a more habitable environment for kea not just on our ski fields, but across the region as a whole.
“We love our mountains and believe it’s really important to protect and enhance the areas in which we operate. The return of kea locally is a remarkable feat. We’re celebrating by giving our staff the chance to name the other four kea that have been tagged currently. The names will be unveiled at the end of the week – keep your eyes peeled for the kea in the flesh when you’re up on the slopes!”
Kea Conservation Trust co-founder and chair Tamsin Orr-Walker adds: “We are very excited to be seeing more kea present locally and we look forward to working with the local community and NZSki to better understand the status of the Wakatipu kea population over the next few years. We encourage people who do see kea to report their sightings via the kea sightings database to help us with these projects.”
The Ben Lomond Kea monitoring project will kick off early 2020, with NZSki helping to erect public information signs on the Ben Lomond saddle from April next year, as well as helping to tag, test blood lead levels and attach transmitters to kea to better understand their nesting habits.
In addition to work on Ben Lomond, NZSki staff will continue their extensive summer Kaitiakitanga programme across The Remarkables, Coronet Peak and Mt Hutt through native plant revegetation, pest control and wilding pine eradication – ensuring the mountain environments are a place where native birds like the kea can thrive.
For more information, please contact:
NZSki CEO Paul Anderson
P: +64 27 205 1937
NZSki is the owner and operator of three distinctively different South Island ski areas; Coronet Peak, Mt Hutt and The Remarkables. Collectively they offer a complete New Zealand snow experience and have a reputation as being among some of New Zealand’s best visitor attractions.
Coronet Peak, located in the adventure capital of Queenstown, is New Zealand’s home of skiing. It is NZ’s first commercial ski field providing good times since 1947, and has pioneered snow-making and night skiing. This is Queenstown’s playground – at only 20 minutes from downtown, guests get freshly-groomed trails at First Tracks from 8am right through to Night Skiing – a Queenstown must do – on Wednesday, Friday and Saturdays until 9pm.
The famous Remarkables mountain range, located in Queenstown New Zealand, is where you’ll find your freedom. The Remarkables is a welcoming, adventurous ski field boasting three sun-drenched, north-facing, snow-filled bowls, seven terrain parks, including The Burton Stash, plus heaps of off-piste black runs and wide-open learner slopes. This is also the home of The North Face Frontier – a Freeride World Qualifier event, and a number of progression programs.
Officially New Zealand’s Best Ski Resort for the fourth year in a row*, Mt Hutt is New Zealand’s big friendly mountain with snow fall and altitude delivering a long, white season. The altitude of 2086m with a 683 vertical drop makes it the South Island’s highest chair lift, attracting plenty of snow, leg-burning runs and some of the country’s most spectacular views. As well as Kiwi hospitality, enjoy wide groomed slopes, all-lift access for all abilities, top to bottom terrain parks with world class jumps, and some of the best off-piste skiing around.
*Voted New Zealand’s Best Ski Resort at The World Ski Awards 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.