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Kea - Mountain Parrot

Television (Full Length) – 1993


This documentary tells the story of the inimitable kea. The 'Clown of the Alps' is heralded as the world’s smartest bird (its intelligence rivals a monkey’s). Kea are famous on South Island tracks and ski fields for their insatiable (and destructive) inquisitiveness. Curiosity almost killed the kea when it was labelled a sheep killer, and tens of thousands were killed for a bounty. After shots of baby kea being fed, there is extraordinary night footage in clip four of the 'avian wolf' in action. The award-winning film makes a compelling case for the charismatic kea as a national icon.

These are the mischievous monkeys in parrot's feathers, intoxicated with their own cleverness.
– Narrator Barry Paine on kea hijinks in ski area carparks

Key Cast & Crew

Paul Donovan


Barry Paine

Narrator, Writer

Rod Morris

Director, Producer

Glenda Norris

Associate Producer

Neville Copland


Merv Aitchison

Sound Mix

Produced by

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