A screenshot of this year's chick on Royal Cam

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


DOC's annual competition to name the new Royal Cam star has been narrowed down to five finalists with voting opening today to choose the winning name.

Date:  29 April 2021

The toroa/northern royal albatross chick at Pukekura/Taiaroa Head is 95 days old today but has yet to be named. The theme for entrants to choose this year’s name is “kaitiaki”, the Māori concept of guardianship over the land, sea, and sky.

“We too can support the natural spaces albatross need to live and thrive, wherever we are in the world,” says DOC Ranger Sharyn Broni, who works closely with the species at Pukekura/Taiaroa.

Name submissions closed on April 15, with more than 700 submissions received. DOC staff shortlisted 20 names, and Te Poāri a Pukekura/Pukekura Co-management Trust selected the top five to go to public vote.

The top five names are: Tiaki, Mahara, Ururaki, Ataraki, and Kaihautū.

Once the chick fledges in September/October, she will take to the skies and fly 9000 km across the Pacific Ocean to feed near South America. It will be four to ten years before she returns to the Southern Hemisphere’s only mainland albatross colony at Pukekura/Taiaroa Head to breed.

The Royal Cam livestream is run in partnership with New York University’s Cornell Lab of Ornithology, helping the lives of these albatross reach an international audience. 2020 had a record audience, with more than 2.5 million views as people from all around the world tuned in at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Like the Royal Cam stars before her, this chick will be an ambassador for her species, which face a range of threats and challenges including impacts from fishing and plastic discarded in the ocean, and the growing effects of climate change on ocean temperatures and feeding grounds.

The competition is run with the support of Te Poāri a Pukekura and the Otago Peninsula Trust’s Royal Albatross Centre.

First prize includes a professionally printed and framed A3 image of this year's chick, a Tumbleweed teeshirt, and a soft toy albatross chick. There is also a second prize and numerous spot prizes for randomly selected entrants.

People can learn more about the naming competition, including the inspiration and meanings behind the names, and vote for their favourite on our website.


For media enquiries contact:

Email: media@doc.govt.nz

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