Albatross chick gets new name Moana

Moana is the chosen name for the chick (DOC)
Moana is the chosen name for the chick (DOC)

The wait is over -- Otago Peninsula's newest albatross chick has just been named and no, it's not Birdy McBirdface.

The five-month-old chick will be called Moana, after the Department of Conservation (DOC) ran a competition to name the bird.

Moana was one of five names chosen by a panel of judges. The others included Rereroa, Kapehu, Kaewa, Kapua.

"Moana is a Māori name meaning ocean, sea, wide expanse of water: Te manu o Moana - The bird of the sea," DOC says.

"Northern royal albatross/toroa spend most of their lives at sea, covering vast areas of the ocean in search of food and returning to land only to breed and raise their young, so this Māori name represents this type of bird very well," Department of Conservation’s threatened species ambassador Nicola Toki says.

Room seven from Tainui School in Dunedin sent the winning entry and gets a trip to the Albatross Centre to see the bird. There were 13 entries for Moana and DOC picked one to win the trip.

DOC received 2437 entries for the naming competition from all over the world and there were 1225 votes for the name Moana. DOC rangers have also confirmed the chick is a female.

Little Moana started hatching on January 18 at the colony on Pukekura/Taiaroa Head this year. She was welcomed to the world three days later by her parents YWK and KGY, who have overcome rocky past relationships to breed this second chick together.

Moana is in the post-guard stage, which means she will be left alone at the nest for long amounts of time while YWK and KGY are foraging at sea. She will grow to have a wingspan of three metres or more.

DOC was looking for a name which reflects the characteristics of the species or their habitat on Otago Peninsula, and their importance as a taonga species.

Birdy McBirdface was ruled out immediately.