Royal cam chick
Image: Aaron Heimann | DOC

Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


Hundreds of people from around the world have had their say and now it’s your turn to choose the official name for this year’s Royal cam chick.

Date:  19 June 2018

After a week-long competition, Te Poāri a Pukekura (the Pukekura Co-management Trust) have narrowed down a list of 481 names to their top five. They are Amiria, Ārohia, Mātātoa, Phoebe and Wikitoria. 

DOC’s Threatened Species Ambassador Nicola Toki says each of the five names suit the theme of ‘female explorer’. 

“From Amiria, an Aotearoa twist on Amelia Earhart to Mātātoa which means intrepid and brave in te reo Māori, each of the five names is special in its own right. 

“Best of all, they’re all perfect for a flying adventurer and a princess of the skies, I can’t wait to see what ends up being chosen!”

With the top five names now selected, it’s up to people from around the world to vote on their favourite.

Te Poāri a Pukekura Trust chair Neville Peat says, “The five names selected for a public vote are all beautiful sounding and strong contenders and the winning name will be carried around the Southern Ocean with the chick when she fledges in September or early October.” 

More than 150,000 people visit the Taiaroa Head’s Royal Albatross Colony each year. It’s the only place in the world to see northern royal albatross breeding on a mainland site. DOC manages the albatross colony with the support of Te Poāri a Pukekura (Pukekura Co-management Trust), the Otago Peninsula Trust and Dunedin City Council. 

From one breeding pair in 1937 to more than 60 pairs in 2017, the colony has benefited from decades of DOC’s management and predator control. 10,000 seabirds are also thriving at Taiaroa Head, including threatened species like red-billed gulls and Otago shags. 

The person who submitted the name that receives the most votes will win flights for two to Otago thanks to Air New Zealand, the Otago Peninsula Trust will host the lucky couple on their visit to meet the chick, and Larnach Castle will accommodate the winners in royal style for two nights. It also includes visits to view blue penguins, Fletcher House and Glenfalloch Gardens. 

If the winning name was nominated in the first round by more than one person, the final prize-winner will be drawn at random by a DOC representative. 

Voting closes at 10 am on Tuesday 26 June 2018.

Background information

  • If the winning name was nominated in the first round by more than one person, the final prize-winner will be drawn at random by a DOC representative.
  • View the chick by visiting:
  • Since Royal cam went live in 2016, the DOC website Royal cam page has received over 2 million views and over 100,000 comments. 
  • We hope to film the chick until it fledges (is ready to fly), about September.
  • The chick is currently left alone on the nest for long periods while its parents are at sea foraging for food.
  • Their slow reproduction rates, changes in habitat and climate and some fishing practices make northern royal albatross/toroa vulnerable. They are an icon of Dunedin and a taonga species for Ngāi Tahu.
  • With a wing span of over three metres, northern royal albatrosses are among the largest seabirds in the world.
  • After the chick fledges, its parents will leave the colony and spend the following year at sea. They then return to breed again, completing a two-year cycle.

Top five names and their meanings


"Aotearoa twist on the first name of Amelia Earhart." Amelia Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She "had a spirit of adventure and determination throughout her life".


Ārohia is a Māori word meaning to take interest/to take notice. “My inspiration for suggesting Ārohia is the chick's regular activity in and around her nest, and and also the world-wide adventure that will be her adult life.”


“This means intrepid and brave in te reo, which is what all explorers are.” "Māori Television has translated Dora the Explorer into Māori for children: Dora Mātātoa."


“Phoebe Snetsinger - birder and explorer. First person to document over 8,000 bird species. Travelled all over the world to achieve her dream. The name Phoebe derives from ancient Greek for 'bright and shining'.”


"Wikitoria is te reo for victory. Wikitoria Korako was the wife of the Ngāi Tahu leader and South Island Māori Chief, Horomona Pohio, who was a participant in the signing of the Otago purchase deed in 1844."


For media enquiries contact:


Back to top