Parrot Society of New Zealand

Katrin Scholtyssek


Katrin Scholtyssek (ACTP) along with Cromwell Purchase (AL WABRA) Will be jointly presenting information that will be shared with us all in April at our convention. Following is Katrin's biography which outlines the exciting job that she has and the privilege of working with some of the worlds rarest and difficult parrot species to maintain and breed.

Katrin Scholtyssek's Biography:

For as long as I can remember I have lived with birds. My family always kept Budgies as pets and they welcomed wild birds in their backyards. I got my first pet budgie whilst attending primary school, and he lived with me for an extraordinary 16 years!
Biology has always interested me, so I took part in an advanced course in school, which led me to study it further afterwards.
In 2004 I bought an African Grey Parrot; he was an incredible creature with his unique personality and high level of intelligence. From there my fascination with parrots grew and I was soon hooked on this incredible group of birds!
I studied Biology at the University of Potsdam in Germany, where my focus was zoological subjects. Within 2 months of completing my diploma I was offered my dream job with the Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots e.V (ACTP). This was 2012; I started working as a keeper at the breeding facility, where I got know all of the personalities of the individual birds. I also began recording behavioural, health and nutritional data suitable to be published further down the track.
ACTP's main focus is to establish safety net populations of threatened parrots. A large population of offspring is required for this and with the data collection of breeding behaviour we can optimise the breeding conditions for every species.
ACTP has given me the experiences that I never dreamed of! I have the privilege to manage projects such as protection programmes for Caribbean Amazons, Amazona Guildingii and Amazona Versicolour, which not only include work in their natural habitat, but also the breeding of these incredible birds in Germany. I have been able to expand my knowledge of health management, behavioural studies, artificial incubation and hand raising of an incredible range of species, such as Hyacinth and Lear's macaws, Caribbean Amazons, Black Cockatoos and also the Spix's macaws, a species which is considered extinct in the wild. It is incredibly satisfying to be able to put my knowledge and effort into a project, which is nothing less, than saving a species.


Cromwell Purchase PhD


The Parrot Society of New Zealand have been trying hard to bring this presenter to our shores for many years but his dedication to his job and work commitments have not coincided with our conventions. This year all that has changed! Kiwis, if you’re not too sure who this gentleman is thenGoogle his name! You will be blown away with the extensive achievements and contributions that he and his team have brought to aviculture world wide.
Cromwell has informed us that he has something incredibly special that he would like to share with us at our convention in April. Even we don't know what it is but we feel extremely flattered to provide a platform for some exciting news! So, without further ado here is a brief introduction of who Cromwell is:
Cromwell Purchase studied for many years gaining degrees in a varied field, but ultimately went on to focus more on animals. He went on to gain a Masters in Veterinary Science at Onderstepoort concentrating on Avian Diseases, Medicine and Vaccine Technology and a PhD at the University of Pretoria in Zoology, specialising in Avian Nutritional Physiology.
He has been involved in aviculture since 1987 (aged 10) and has more than 25 years of self-taught avian incubation and hand-rearing experience and has amassed a large private breeding collection of a mixture of parrots, with a favourite focus on Lories and Lorikeets. In addition he has over 10 years of hands on reptile/arachnid captive breeding/husbandry and large mammal husbandry and training experience.
Since December 2010, Cromwell has been the Blue Macaw Captive Coordinator at Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation and was soon promoted to Head of Birds. He also took over the research and conservation departments due to his background and education. In 2013 Cromwell was promoted to director at Al Wabra and is currently the International Studbook Keeper, Genealogist and Management consultant for the Spix’s macaw recovery program.


 Dr Andrew Digby (NZ)


Dr Andrew Digby is the Science Advisor for Kākāpō and Takahē with the New Zealand Department of Conservation. He is responsible for providing scientific advice to direct conservation efforts for both of these endangered species. This involves reviewing research, organising field trials and data collection, analysing data, and collaborating with the many external international experts who assist with the recovery programmes. Andrew has a PhD in Conservation Biology from Victoria University of Wellington, focussing on kiwi behaviour and conservation. He had an earlier career as a research astronomer, with a PhD in Astrophysics from the University of Edinburgh, and a postdoctoral fellowship with NASA in New York conducting exoplanet research.

The kākāpō: conservation science in action

The kākāpō (Strigops habroptilus) is the world's heaviest and only flightless parrot. Four decades of conservation effort has seen the species bounce back from the brink of extinction, with the population tripling from a low of 51 birds in 1995 to 152 today. However, kākāpō are still critically endangered, and face threats from inbreeding, disease and low fertility.

Dr Andrew Digby from the Department of Conservation Kākāpō Recovery Programme will highlight the ground-breaking conservation and management behind the recovery of the species, including advances in genetics, artificial insemination, nutrition and technology. He will describe the challenges for the future of kakapo, and the innovative and collaborative methods used to find solutions to them.

We here at the Parrot Society of New Zealand are so incredibly greatful for the time that Dr Digby is sharing with us and sharing updated information and strategies to secure the future of this fascinating parrot.


Andrew is sponsored by Chook Manor and will be speaking on the following subject:

Kakapo Recovery Programme


Gavin White (NZ)

GavinWhiteGavin White is a well respected aviculturist within New Zealand and is regarded as an authority here for the breeding of the "brush tongued" parrots. Gavin along with his very understanding wife Linda, have an extensive collection of Lories and Lorikeets with many breeding successes including the delicate and beautiful Goldies Lorikeet.

Gavins presentation will focus on his management and breeding of this delightful species, identifying the highs and lows of working with these birds.

Read Gavins biography below.






I live in Kerikeri, Bay of Islands in the winterless north of New Zealand. Now retired after commercial beekeeping for 45 years producing speciality honey products for locals and export markets. Now currently a Queen Bee breeder again for local and export also. With the current demand I still produce two thousand queen bees a year, pocket money allows me to attend a parrot convention in Australia each year.

My first introduction to bird keeping was with Bantams and Pigeons when I was about eight years old. In the early sixties I had Budgerigars and Lovebirds but lost interest when cars and girls came along. My interest was rekindled 20 years ago when my wife and I were in Australia visiting our children and seeing the Aussie birds in their natural habitat.

I purchased a real cross section of species when I started again, to see what I liked the best. I decided that the Lori and Lorikeets and medium sized Australian parrots are the species that I prefer. My collection now is about 60% Lori and Lorikeets and of late the rare and difficult to breed species is what I have been concentrating on. I have been having reasonable success with a Goldies Lorikeet breeding program over the last 15 years.

I do have grave concerns on the numbers of species that we have lost in New Zealand over recent times and unfortunately there are a number that will follow the same demise if nothing is done. 























Gavin is sponsored by The Bird Barn and will be speaking on the following subject:

Management and Breeding the Goldies Lorikeet in NZ


Rachel Riley - Aus










Rachel Riley is a professional avian behaviour and training consultant, and owns and operates Parrot Life Behaviour and Training. Running since 2013, Parrot Life Behaviour and Training offers in-home and online consultations for companion parrot owners (often on a referral basis from avian vets) and a range of workshops and training courses for parrots and their owners. Parrot Life®is based in Perth, Australia, but is expanding into New Zealand in 2018.
















Rachel has had many years working with parrots and birds of all shapes and sizes, in the conservation field as well as focusing on her passion of behaviour and training in more recent years. Parrot Life® also has a strong conservation focus, with one of the main contracts being the avian management at Kaarakin Black Cockatoo Conservation Centre, where Rachel and the Parrot Life® team work intensively on onsite husbandry, diet, volunteer training, cockatoo rehabilitation and movements, release assessments and training of non-release birds for display and education. Rachel holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Zoology from Massey University, New Zealand.

For more information please visit .





Rachel is sponsored by Vetafarm and will be speaking on the following subjects:

Kaarakin: Rehabilitating Orphaned Black Cockatoos to Release Point
Parrot Behaviour: Assessing and Correcting Common Problem Behaviours in Captive Parrots


Dr Scott Echolls (USA)

DVM, Dipl ABVP (Avian Practice) -Utah (USA)


Dr Scott Echols grew up in Texas and received his BS from Texas A&M University and DVM from Texas A&M College of Veterinarian Medicine. Upon completion of veterinarian school, Dr Echols moved to California to work with Dr Brian Speer and completed his residency in avian medicine and surgery. Drs Speer and Echols worked on many avian projects including developing flock health programmes, new surgery techniques and diagnosing and treating kidney disorders in birds. Both doctors continue to collaborate on multiple avian subjects and co-teach at conferences worldwide.


After spending 5 years in California, Dr Echols moved to Austin, Texas to become the Director of Avian Medical and Surgical Services at Westgate Pet and Bird Hospital for the next 9 years. At this point, Dr Echols continued to develop new techniques in avian medicine and surgery and began a prolific writing and speaking career.


In 2009 Dr Echols formed Avian Mobile Surgical Services with Dr Brian Speer and Now Dr Echols provides avian surgical consultation services throughout the United States and acts as a visiting professor at multiple veterinary schools. was created to provide educational material designed to improve the lives of captive birds. Such releases as Captive Foraging and the Expert Companion Bird Care Series DVD's have sold and been viewed worldwide and have received high praise.
Additionally, Dr Echols is the co-creator of the Lafeber Critical Care Series videos which were designed to help veterinarians handle emergency situations with birds and other exotic animals.


Dr Echols is a past president of the Association of Avian Veterinarians, he is a reviewer for the Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery, and recipient of both the TJ Lafeber Avian Practitioner of the Year Award and Texas Non-Traditional Species Practitioner of the Year Award and founder of the 'Reproductive Problems in Ducks' and 'Nutrition for Pets' forums on Facebook.

A relatively recent project that Dr Echols has been part of is the Grey Parrot Anatomy Project, which has created new collaborations and numerous new findings that are sure to apply to all birds and much more.

Again some of our committee members have been fortunate to meet and hear the work that Dr Echols brings to our hobby. Using up to date technological advancements to discover new findings that we have never been able to observe in the past.



Scott will be speaking on the following subjects:

Avian Metabolic Bone Disease and Why It's so Important
Navigating the Dietary Supplement Industry

Dr Stacey GelisDrStaceyGelis1

The Parrot Society of New Zealand is again excited to finally bring Dr Stacey Gelis to New Zealand. A highly respected Australian veterinary practitioner who has a professional and personal connection to aviculture in Australia. 
Members of The Parrot Society have had the privelege of meeting Dr Gelis and have appreciated his professional yet practical and understandable presentations.


Stacey has been an avian veterinarian for over 25 years, working in both private practice and zoological facilities. During this time he has developed a broad expertise not only with psittacine birds, but also finches, softbills, galliforms, waterfowl and ratites. He has been involved in the import and export of birds, as well as working with endangered parrots including the orange-bellied parrot. Stacey has published much of his work in scientific and avicultural journals as well as contributing chapters to several avian veterinary texts. He has also lectured at veterinary conferences and avicultural conventions. 


His particular areas of interest include nutrition and diseases of loriinae, gastrointestinal diseases of birds and diseases of finches and softbills.

Stacey has also been an aviculturist for over 30 years, having kept and bred a variety of psittacines, finches, softbills and poultry. His particular avicultural interests include lories and lorikeets, Psittacula and Australian parrots.



Stacey is sponsored by Australian Birdkeeper and will be speaking on the following subjects:

Delving into Post Mortem, What am I looking for? Real Time
Dietary Requirements of Lorikeets vs Lories, Why should it be Different?


Alycia Antheunisse (USA)


Well here we are with our mysterious guest speaker.
Our convention is turning into an event of "Firsts".... 
We are so pleased and honoured to be hosting Alycia Antheunisse.... wife of Eric Antheunisse and co owner of Cedar Hill Birds.
This will be the first time that Alycia has travelled overseas and the first time presenting with her husband at the same event. We felt extremely lucky that Alycia is taking the courage in stepping on a plane to get here!!! 
Alycia has a passion for educating others and the interest for Aviculture in the changing world ahead.
We can not wait for them both to spend time with us and look forward to gaining from the extensive avicultural experiences that Alycia will share with us.

Alycia has always had animals in her life. She was born into a ranching family and lived on a 500 acre sheep and cattle ranch until she was 22 years old. Working with her grandfather every day taught her the respect of animals, common sense, and a deeply rooted work ethic that keeps her grounded in what is now one of the largest and most respected exotic bird businesses in the world.

AlyciaAntheunisse2In 1996 Alycia reconnected with her now husband, Eric Antheunisse, founder of Cedar Hill Birds. Together they have built a business that circles the globe and incorporates all facets of aviculture.
Today, Alycia is instrumental in all aspects of handrearing: from nestbox to perch, public and resale. She also runs the office and keeps all records in accordance to protocol and client stipulations. Although she tends to be more involved with the public, education, etc, Alycia does enjoy the breeding aspect of aviculture as well. Together she and Eric work daily to provide their flock with the proper diet, environment, and enrichment that leads to consistent and strong production in what would be considered a commercial setting. Streamlining their operation has proven beneficial for all species, conures to macaws, lories to cockatoos.
It wasn’t until her children entered high school that Alycia began to see a dire need to expose young adults and even adults to the wonderful world of Aviculture. Alycia has worked extensively with her son and daughters FFA chapter (Future Farmers of America) to introduce the members to care, hand rearing, handling and breeding of exotic birds. She hopes to be able to offer an apprentice program to qualified students that wish to learn more and in turn continue educating and inspiring more people to participate in the hobby and industry.



Alycia is sponsored by the Parrot Society of New Zealand and will be speaking 
on the following subjects:

Rearing Baby Birds for the Pet Market

Socialisation and Preparation


Eric Antheunisse (USA)


We are proud to bring Eric Antheunisse back to our shores. Sharing his experiences with breeding parrots. A couple of our members have been fortunate to visit Eric's breeding farm located in the U.S.A and experienced breeding parrot species on a large scale. Eric, along with his wife have established the reputation for breeding Conures, however, a wide range of species are represented within their collection.
Read more about Eric below and convince yourself to be part of our event next year....

EricAntheunisse2For over 30 years Cedar Hill Birds has done business by these words: family, ethics, conservation, quality and success. By the age of nine, Eric Antheunisse had a poultry and water fowl collection most fanciers would be envious of. As his passion grew Eric immersed himself in the trade and breeding of parrots. He traveled the western United States with his parents visiting other breeders, quarantine stations and the like learning everything he could. 
In 1997 Eric met his wife, Alycia who quickly learned the ropes of the avicultural world. In 1999, Alycia and Eric had the first of two children, Ashle. In 2001, their son, Brenden was born. Both children have been brought up with the great appreciation for our feathered friends and are handy helpers around the ranch. Our children help in every aspect of care, feeding and cleaning, socializing, shipping and customer service. It is important to us that they understand the responsibility we have taken upon ourselves to raise these creatures. They surprise us day in and day out with their comprehension and knowledge of our business, passions and goals. 
Now, with a family, and a successful exotic bird business, Eric has not deviated from his childhood enthusiasm. Not only does he travel the world speaking of his experience in aviculture, but Eric also specializes in CITES export, commercial breeding, retailing, and continues to consult for breeders around the world. 
It is with his years of experience, compassion and drive that continue to make Cedar Hill Birds a successful and reputable breeder of exotics worldwide.



















Eric is sponsored by Parrots International NZ and will be speaking 
on the following subjects:

Breeding Parrots at Cedar Hill Birds (Not just a hobby)

Breeding Conures, Their Care and Management