New Zealand’s Bird of the Century competition: Winner announcement delayed after unprecedented voting volume

Publish Date
Friday, 10 November 2023, 12:15PM

While New Zealand has been waiting with bated breath for the announcement of the results of Bird of the Century, the expectant public are going to have to wait a little longer to find out if their favourite fowl has nabbed the prize.

It was revealed today that the announcement of the winner will be delayed by two days following a massive influx of hundreds of thousands of votes.

The winner will now be revealed on the morning of Wednesday, November 15, while voting will still close at 5pm NZDT on Sunday, November 12.

The hold-up is a first in the competition’s history and comes after comedian and TV host John Oliver publicly expressed his love and support of the pūteketeke Australasian crested grebe while hosting Sunday’s episode of Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.

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“We’re blown away at the outpouring of attention from around the world for our awesome native birds,” says Forest & Bird chief executive Nicola Toki. “A huge mihi to everyone who has voted, donated or contributed to the kaupapa so far.

“Also, a big shout-out to our local campaign managers, who have gone into overdrive to raise the profile of their chosen candidate with flair, creativity and laughs.

“Bird of the Century is a phenomenon because we have people from all walks of life making noise about birds — whether they’re kids making bird art, businesses doing their bit for biodiversity, or community groups staging grassroots events.”

The unprecedented amount of votes for the Bird of the Century has seen the email vote verification system stretched more than ever before.

“We know many people have had trouble receiving their vote verification email, but please be assured we have captured all submitted votes,” Toki assured the public.

“Our small team have been working around the clock to troubleshoot and now just need a couple of days to make sure every vote from a valid email address is counted.

“We don’t need the Electoral Commission sticking their beaks into our ballots. We can ensure the integrity of the Bird of the Century election results in just two extra days.”

The email vote verification system was put in place after multiple voting scandals rocked the world’s most important bird poll. An independent data scrutineer will analyse this year’s votes to ensure no “fowl” play is involved.

Vote for your top five birds before 5pm Sunday, November 12 on the Bird of the Century website.

During his campaigning, however, he made a big blunder that has potentially lost him the support of Kiwis.

Slipping up live on air and in his own words accidentally offending the entire nation...

“On our show on Sunday, we entered the Australian ... uh, sorry. Not Australia. New Zealand. I could not have made a more offensive mistake than that,” Oliver mistakenly told Fallon as millions around the US watched on.

The crowd then burst out laughing before Oliver attempted to brush the cheeky mistake under the rug.

“Although, potato, potato [potarto], am I right?”

This article was first published by the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.

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