Australian Cockatoo discovered stowed away aboard New Zealand cruise ship

The runaway cockatoo.
The runaway cockatoo. Photo credit: Supplied/MPI

An Australian Galah cockatoo has enjoyed a luxury cruise around New Zealand after it was discovered aboard a ship headed on a tour of the country's ports.

The Ministry for Primary Industries was alerted of the bird's presence as the ship approached the Milford Sounds on January 25.

This story could have had an abrupt and sad end, as MPI policy is to have stowaways either euthanized or bonded to the vessel due to the possibility of avian diseases.

Thankfully the bird was captured and provided with its own private cabin to stay quarantined on board the ship.

The bird then enjoyed a merry sail around New Zealand, with MPI officers checking in at every port to ensure that the quarantine was being followed.

"We needed photographic evidence of its containment and the name of an officer responsible for looking after the bird," said Andrew Spelman, MPI Border Clearance Services Manager.

"There was also a requirement for MPI officers to check on the bird and its containment facilities at every new port visit in New Zealand.

"The vessel operators have been very particular in following our directive, so we're satisfied any biosecurity risk has been mitigated."

There's even more happy news for the bird following the conclusion of its holiday - a MPI quarantine officer discovered it had a microchip that matched it to a missing bird from Brisbane.

After speaking with Australian officials it was decided the cockatoo can head home to be reunited with its owner provided it passes a vet check.