The world’s only alpine parrot, the Kea dwells in the Southern Alps of New Zealand. A survivor of the glacial ages in the earth’s history, the Kea has adapted to harsh life in high mountain country. Renowned for its intelligence, playfulness and overt curiosity the Kea nevertheless has a dark side to its nature.
In a land devoid of mammals, the Kea’s pre-human presence diet consisted of fruits, berries, shoots and grubs. Human settlement soon changed this. The source of food, the forests, diminished due to clearing and the Kea was forced to move into higher mountain areas. But European settlers introduced a source of protein, the sheep. High station farmers soon became aware of the destructive killing power of the Kea and it became the target of the gun.
For 100 years, Kea were indiscriminately shot, sometimes for a bounty. Over 150,000 were killed in an attempt to exterminate them. Fortunately for the Kea, in 1986 conservationist pressures led to the introduction of full protection laws with the proviso that any rogue birds would be dealt with. Fancied for food and feathers by the old time Māori, the Kea’s existence, due to the areas they occupied, was never threatened by them.
In a spiritual sense the Kea was considered a kaitiaki or guardian to the few Māori mountain travelers seeking the treasured pounamu (New Zealand jade) or trading with other tribes.
Te Rarawa, Ngāti Paoa, Te Ātiawa
Rex Homan was born 1940 in Thames, New Zealand of Māori, Irish and Scottish ancestry. He lived in Auckland in his early years before moving to the Bay of Plenty. Rex has earned international recognition as a wood sculptor in the 1960s and 1970s and began working in bronze in the 1980s. His current work is influenced by the culture of the Pacific and displays uniqueness in its diversity of form and dramatic flow of lines. Rex has exhibited in solo, group and jury shows. He has won several national awards for “National Wood Skills” and is represented in corporate and private collections worldwide.
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