Thank you Doug. NZ was split from Australia during the breakup of Gondwanaland, and as such our fauna has had a very unique development (until humans came on the scene). As a result, we have only one native mammal: a diminutive bat, but a profusion of amazing birds that, without a lot of predators, have developed unique habitats and behaviours, resultant in part from our extremely diverse environment.
Lots of our birds stopped flying: the (now very endangered) Kakapo, is a flightless parrot, the iconic Kiwi to name just a couple. Lots of those birds also developed great colouration variations.
The Kia is a very smart bird - in many ways connected to the environment is has evolved to inhabit. Compared to its lowland cousin, the Kakapo, the Kea is much more agile, smarter and more adaptable - it needed to be to deal with the much harsher space in which it lived. Today, this results in a bird that has learnt to interact with humans to deal with the changes we have wrought upon its living space.
In earlier times, before humans arrived, it is believed the Kea predated on the huge Moa: an ostrich-like ground dweller that could reach as high as 2m in height. The evidence suggests they landed on the Moa's back, a place of vulnerability where it could not defend itself. They would bite down into the birds back to feed of the liver and fatty tissue there. When Moa were exterminated by Maori, and then Europeans brought sheep into their domain in the high country, they adapted to that, doing the same thing to sheep. Farmers then waged war on them, killing over a quarter million of them before Kea were protected in the latter part of the last century. Farmers have adapted by less lethal countermeasures to protect the sheep and withdrawing them from the most dangerous spaces, but really Kea are most numerous in the National Parks - which thankfully cover about 1/3 or NZ's land area.
There, they learned to interact with humans: they come up to them, pose for photos and essentially encourage us to feed them (not a good idea). At ski resorts or other locations such as huts and camps they will pounce on any food carelessly left open, and even do dash and grab raids as people eat. It is their sense of fun and curiosity that really set them apart. They will come to a backcountry hut and spend hours climbing to the ridgeline and sliding down the corrugated iron to the gutter, then scrambling up to the top to repeat: all the while making noises that sound a lot like banter.
It is their rather destructive way of exploration that gets them into trouble. With only claws and a beak to manipulate things, they tend to use the latter to prise open things and, if necessary, use that sharp beak to bite into objects of curiosity or desire. This results in some serious damage to vehicles and tents, and trampers have long since learnt to never leave a backpack or boots out for the tender attentions of these characters. They can undo zips and Velcro, and even unlash straps. If they can't succeed with that, then their beaks will wreak havoc and some serious damage as they chew through pack and boots and chop up shoe laces - I have seen a lot of unwary hikers seriously challenged after they left their boots outside the hut overnight to discover that they have no shoe laces in the morning.
But, if one thinks of them like a small, precocious child then one takes the appropriate countermeasures to hide tempting objects and personally, I would never change these wonderful avian companions.