New Zealand bird of the year: ‘Help us crown a real king’, pūteketeke not King Charles

Pūteketeke bird. — Forest and Bird 

John Oliver, a British comedian and US talkshow host, has with full force jumped into New Zealand’s bird of the century competition and launched a global campaign in support of the threatened pūteketeke bird, The Guardian reported.

The two-week contest held annually attracts around 60,000 votes — and the same number of votes have come in since Oliver announced himself as the official campaign manager.

The comedian made the announcement, backing the pūteketeke for the bird of the century competition, on Sunday’s episode of Last Week Tonight in the US.

Oliver, on his show, unveiled billboards in several places globally. It also included a billboard on a moving truck, asking Britons to “Help us crown a real king” — the pūteketeke, not King Charles.

John Oliver, a British comedian and US talkshow host. — Stuff
John Oliver, a British comedian and US talkshow host. — Stuff

“This is what democracy is all about – America interfering in foreign elections,” he said.

“They are weird puking birds with colourful mullets. What’s not to love here?” said Oliver of the endangered bird.

The bird has a unique thing. It eats up hundreds of its feathers to line its stomach before vomiting them back up again.

He also noted that his campaign was “alarmingly aggressive”. He has bought billboards in New Zealand, Japan, France, the UK, India, and Wisconsin, a US state.

Not only this, a plane with the pūteketeke campaign banner flew over the beaches of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

A total of 77 New Zealand’s native birds are in the running for the title of Bird of the Century 2023 contest, with the voting opened on October 30 for two weeks.

The annual Bird of the Year contest has been temporarily rebranded as “Bird of the Century” to celebrate the 100th birthday of the conservation organisation Forest & Bird.

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