Bird of Century: Donations flock in after raucous campaign

By Lauren Crimp for RNZ

British comedian John Oliver's cameo in this year's Bird of the Century competition has done more than ruffle some feathers.

Forest and Bird told RNZ donations associated with the campaign were "several times higher" than previous years.

That was thanks primarily to Oliver's "outrageous" campaign that saw the pūteketeke take the crown in a landslide victory, a spokesperson said.

The campaign included ads in Paris, Mumbai, Tokyo and London, promotion on his show Last Week Tonight and an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon dressed in full-on grebe garb.

Donations were still being counted - and continued to roll in - so Forest and Bird could not give a total, but a spokesperson said it was "incredible."

"The support that we've seen from both overseas and here in NZ has been fantastic," a spokesperson said.

"The overseas donations, given New Zealand's exchange rates, are certainly working in our favour.

"The donations will help us to keep being an effective advocate and voice for te taiao nature, as we have for the past 100 years."

Pūteketeke. Photo credit: Supplied/ Peter Foulds

Earlier this week Forest and Bird's Ellen Rykers told Morning Report it could only be a good thing that Oliver ignited conversation about our native birds.

There was a record number of votes this year - more than 350,000 from 195 countries, surpassing the previous record of 56,733.