In New Zealand, the Pūteketeke, also known as the ‘puking’ bird, has been declared the Bird of the Century, securing this title through a public poll with an impressive 290,000 votes. This unique bird, recognized for its black and white feathers, adorable parenting style, and peculiar tendency to “puke,” gained significant support from comedian John Oliver. The annual competition, initiated in 2005, seeks to shed light on the precarious status of New Zealand’s native birds, many of which face threats due to habitat loss. John Oliver’s impactful advocacy not only led to the crash of online voting systems but also underscored the importance of backing endangered species like the pūteketeke, whose population is gradually rebounding. Despite its near-extinction in the 19th century, this water bird remains under threat, emphasizing the critical role of conservation efforts for its survival.

John Oliver’s campaign for the Pūteketeke’s Bird of the Century title brought challenges to the competition, exploiting a voting loophole and causing delays in announcing the winner. The event, rebranded for its centennial, faced controversies due to Oliver’s tactics. His witty campaign, including billboards and a bird costume on TV, emphasized New Zealand’s bird conservation. The Pūteketeke’s victory, with 350,000 votes, highlighted the success of Oliver’s impactful efforts, stressing the importance of raising awareness for endangered species despite competition controversies.