Cambridge cockatoo 'with penchant for pearls' upsets council

Cambridge residents are going ga-ga over two-year-old galah, Rockey, who has become one of the town's most celebrated residents.

But Waipa Council has put a cat amongst the pigeons, and ordered his wings be clipped after a complaint. 

For months the free-flying galah has made daily visits to schools, rest homes and living rooms all over town.

He even has his own Facebook page where locals share their hilarious stories and videos. 

"He loves to dance and he's very friendly especially with children. But you let him in your house and he will fly he will pick up your eggs and drop them on the ground."

In one case Rockey has helped a local sort her bead collection throwing them all over the lounge. Glasses on peoples' benches are also fair game. 

Jeanen Lindsey's advice is "just don't try and pat him that's the key, birds bite if you touch their tail feathers." 

Jeanen and partner Brendon Knight specialise in training free-flyers and rehoming exotic birds and strays. Their dream is to own land and expand their not-for-profit rescue service. 

Rockey has been so endearing to strangers that sometimes when he's foraging on the side of the road they pick him up thinking he's lost.  

The couple has been known to travel up to 30km away to Maungatautari and Te Awamutu just to retreive him. 

"I love this beautiful town though, people are great about getting straight onto his Facebook page and alerting me that he's popped in." 

But now Waipa Council has received a complaint. 

"Our primary role as an enforcement agency is to ensure the health and safety of our community. We have a bylaw in place that specifically covers animal nuisances no matter the animal, based on nuisances defined in the health act."

Spokesperson Wayne Allan told Newshub he appreciates "Rockey is a well-loved member of our community, that brings joy to many.  However, as we received a complaint about a potential risk to young children, we had to act on it."

He said given the distance between Rockey's home to the local playcentre 350 metres away, with lots of houses in between, the owners agreed to clip Rockey's wings and keep him at home.

But locals have voiced their support for Jeanen Lindsey with some on her FB page offering to pay a fine if she'd chosen not to clip the bird's wings.

"I have been blown away by the support. We're also talking to the playcentre about visiting with him next year to help children understand how to safely handle him- we are going to have Rockey days."

Jeanen is passionate about educating people that with the right training she believes free-flyers like Rockey can live almost anywhere. 

"It takes six months to train them, you do have to clip their wings first and never move their feeding area. Have an area with trees so they can learn to forage, and learn to fly down." 

Lindsey says some people "don't believe in what I'm doing, but if you train your bird properly they're amazing little critters." 

A regular visitor to the Warehouse and Mitre 10, Rockey even visited Hawke's Bay after Cyclone Gabrielle to lift spirits.  

Until now he's been spreading joy each time he spreads his wings, he'll just have to use his voice from the gate to lift spirits from now on.