Search for tradespeople to remove lead from kea hotspots

Ryan Boswell
Source: 1News

Trades people are being asked to help save a native alpine parrot by removing toxic lead from South Island buildings.

Last year, the Government committed almost $1 million to replace lead nails and roof flashings in kea hotspots.

Kea Conservation Trust spokesperson Peter Fraser says the endangered birds enjoy feasting on lead as it’s sweet and moldable in their beaks.

But the heavy metal is toxic, and many birds either die or end up in hospital needing treatment for lead poisoning.

Fraser says the trust was struggling to find tradespeople to do the work in some hotspots.

Builder Robert Potts is working to remove lead in Arthur’s Pass and says the birds could cause significant damage to buildings.

“A lot of these properties are quite old and the keas have been having a good crack at them and pulling them apart causing roof leaks and all sorts of damage.”

Potts was the only builder available to help in Arthur’s Pass. He says he understood why some might be put off given the remoteness of where the birds live.

“It’s just a balancing act with work back in Christchurch and coming up here to make sure this project continues along as well.”

Fraser says the trust wants to talk to people living in kea hotspots like Franz Josef Village and Mount Cook Village.

“The idea is that we want to support local communities - so we’re looking for people who are willing to do training, heights training, who are willing to get on a roof, have that level of fitness.”