Culture & Heritage

Te Manu Rongonui O Te Tau Bird of the Year 2023

Aotearoa New Zealand’s favourite election is back, and the stakes are higher than ever before. This year marks a whole century of Forest & Bird speaking up for nature.

In 2023, we’re searching for our bird of the century.

Join us in celebrating our 100th birthday by sharing the love for our fantastic, feathered friends. But vote carefully... this year the winner is not just Bird of the Year, but Bird of the Century!

Which New Zealand native bird from the last 100 years has captured your heart?

Our most exquisitely perfumed bird. It’s like its feathers have been dipped in a musky array of essential oils that could come straight from a Middle Eastern perfumier. We’re all cheering as it waddles back from the brink of extinction. The kākāpō was even endorsed by Stephen Fry.

Known as the bird which became alive again, the takahē was thought to be extinct for 50 years until 1948. There are now recovery programmes to prevent the extinction of New Zealand's biggest flightless bird.

It’s the world’s smallest penguin with a big place in New Zealanders’ hearts. Marching out to sea each morning, returning at dusk after a hard day’s fishing – this penguin is a true-blue worker. Forest & Bird is helping to boost the population living around Wellington's coastline.

Not to be confused with a furry fruit of the same name, the kiwi is Aotearoa’s national icon and one – actually, five – of our all-time favourite taonga species. Kiwi are nocturnal and famously secretive, which explains why most people have never seen one in the wild (let alone at the zoo). But because kiwi are flightless, they’re also one of New Zealand’s most vulnerable species.

Right now, 80% of our birds are in trouble. Climate change and habitat destruction are big threats to all our native species. If we protect and restore our rivers, forests, oceans, and climate, we can bring our native wildlife back from the brink.

Bird of The Year is one example of New Zealanders working together to protect our birds for future generations. We’re aiming to make New Zealand predator free by 2050.

Voting for this year's competition opens at 9am on Monday 30 October and closes 5pm on Sunday 12 November. The winner will be announced on Monday 13 November. Find out more about these birds, and vote for your favourite at

Looking for somewhere that puts birdlife in the spotlight? We know a place.