Arthur's Pass kea convention plans to save species

A kea convention is being held in Arthur's Pass this weekend - the first of its kind.

The Kea Conservation Trust has organised the two-day event, all in the name of protecting the future of our most curious bird.

They're playful, intelligent and under threat, but with less than 5000 left across the South Island, the trust is hoping for a kea revolution.

"We're seeing a decline right across the range, and we want to be able to turn that around," says The Kea Conservation Trust chair Tamsin Orr-Walker.

Around 80 people packed into the Arthur's Pass visitors centre on Saturday to brainstorm solutions for protecting the species.

"It wouldn't be the same without the wild raucous cry of the kea. We've got to look after them," says keynote speaker Peter Hillary.

There are a number of threats to kea, including predators like stoats, rats and possums. But it's also their curious and cheeky nature that can get them into trouble, including accidents with cars.

On show at the convention is a kea gymnasium that will be set up at the Homer Tunnel.

"If we can have kea moving away from the roadside areas, that's what we want to do," says Ms Orr-Walker.

If kea take to it, it could even become a draw card for those of us who enjoy watching their antics.