Richie McCaw on a new mission to help endangered NZ birds

goss 19/10/2017

New Zealand parakeets are in trouble after predators like rats and stoats have left their population critically endangered.

But now the little native parrot has a new team on its side.

Richie McCaw's company Christchurch Helicopters has partnered with the Department of Conservation, giving their time and helicopters to fly the orange-fronted parakeets/kākāriki karaka, DoC staff and traps in and out the only remaining habitat - the beech-clad forests of the Canterbury High Country.

"It was a natural fit for us to try and be involved with that and to try and raise the profile of the bird for Kiwis and Cantabrians that probably didn't know it even existed," McCaw told Newshub.

They've also gone a step further, painting one the Squirrel helicopters bright green, with orange-fronted parakeets on each side.

DoC says it's a huge coup to have McCaw and Christchurch Helicopters on board.

"That's really cool the company's signed up and someone with a profile... but it's the company we're really thankful for as well," Andy Roberts, Area Manager at DoC, said.

With the bright green helicopter sure to turn heads in the skies above Christchurch, the orange-fronted parakeet future is set to reach new heights.