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NZ 'Bird of the Century' results are in and our pick - the Kea - had a podium finish
In Aotearoa
In Aotearoa

NZ 'Bird of the Century' results are in and our pick - the Kea - had a podium finish

Thank you so much to everyone who voted!

This year’s historic NZ ‘Bird of the Century’ competition has ended, and the kea - the bird The Breeze got behind - had a great result. 

It finished in third place with 12,060 votes. Second place was the North Island brown kiwi (12,904 votes) while first place was the pūteketeke, which had a whopping 290,374 votes

The pūteketeke (Australasian crested grebe) received such a massive amount of votes thanks to a huge, global campaign from British American talk show host John Oliver. 

Final 'Bird of the Century' results

  1. Pūteketeke Australasian crested grebe: 290,374 votes
  2. North Island brown kiwi: 12,904 votes
  3. Kea: 12,060 votes
  4. Kākāpō: 10,889 votes
  5. Pīwakawaka Fantail: 7,857 votes
  6. Tawaki piki toka Eastern rockhopper penguin: 6,763 votes
  7. Karure | Kakaruia Black robin: 6,753 votes
  8. Huia: 6,467 votes
  9. Tūī: 6,457 votes
  10. Takahē: 6,292 votes


With over 350,000 votes flocking in from 195 different countries, this year saw the most amount of votes the bird election has ever seen since it began in 2005. 

Chief executive of Forest & Bird Nicola Toki said that the pūteketeke has many features that make it a winner.

“Pūteketeke began as an outside contender for Bird of the Century but was catapulted to the top spot thanks to its unique looks, adorable parenting style, and propensity for puking,” she said. 

“We’re not surprised these charming characteristics caught the eye of an influential bird enthusiast with a massive following.”

Oliver’s push for the pūteketeke included billboards in Tokyo, London, Mumbai and other major cities, as well as an appearance in an extravagant costume of the bird on ‘The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon’. 

“We promised controversy but didn’t quite expect this!” Toki said. “We’re stoked to see the outpouring of passion, creativity and debate that this campaign has ignited.”

“More than 80% of our native birds are on the threatened species list, yet clearly these amazing species mean so much to us as New Zealanders.”

There was also plenty of controversy in the form of fraudulent votes. One single person cast 40,000 votes for the tawaki piki toka eastern rockhopper penguin, which Oliver talked about on his ‘Tonight Show’ appearance. None of these were counted. 

Someone in Pennsylvania cast 3,403 fraudulent votes, which came in at around one every three seconds. 

In an obvious nod to the power of his campaign, 45 people voted under the name John Oliver. 44 were for the pūteketeke with the other one being for the New Zealand fairy tern. 

Who knew a bird election could have so many storylines?