Wellington couple meet albatross chick they named

A Wellington couple got a rare treat up close with an albatross chick they helped name. 

It's 80 years since the first royal chick fledged from the colony on Otago Peninsula - the only place in the world where the giant birds nest and breed on the mainland.

Arianna Ponder is the lucky one getting a special VIP tour with her partner and even helping to weigh a chick.

"It was amazing to be up close to one, and to see maybe a little bit of its personality, it wasn't super keen on being weighed so that was really cool."

Ms Ponder got the opportunity, after winning a competition to name this season's Royalcam online star.

She chose the name "Amiria" for the feisty albatross chick - a Te Reo tribute to American aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart.

And she was surprised to see the birds up close.

"Especially when they still have the down on them, so they're still babies. But they're still massive."

These days the public can follow the birds' progress online, via a special webcam - something Ms Ponder will do. 

Over 150,000 people visit the Royal Albatross Centre every year, but less than 40 get access inside the private Department of Conservation (DoC) reserve.

The reserve's now managed by DoC in partnership with the Trust, with around two thirds of chicks requiring some human intervention to help them fledge.

"When it's really hot we need to cool them down with the sprinkler. If their parents don't change over regularly, then we may have to hydrate them or give them some food until their partner comes back," DoC Head Ranger Michael Hitchcock says.

The chick's expected to leave the colony in the next few months. 

She will first head to Chile, spending the next five years circumnavigating the globe before returning back to Dunedn to breed.