Australian tampers with Bird of the Year competition

1:15 pm on 6 October 2018

New Zealand's Bird of the Year competition has become the target of sabotage.

The Shag or Kawau.

The Shag or Kawau. Photo:

One person from Perth voted for the Shag more than 300 times overnight, catching the attention of competition organisers.

The online voting system only allows one vote per email address for New Zealand's birdlife.

Bird of the Year spokesperson Laura Keown said the illegal votes have been wiped.

"We often have some small voting scandals but we're always on top of them.

"I think it's great that people are excited about getting exposure for their favourite native birds because there's a biodiversity crisis in New Zealand," Ms Keown said.

While it is great the competition is receiving overseas attention, voters mustn't cheat, she said.

"There's nothing in the voting rules that limits them to New Zealanders, they just need to be from real email addresses. So foreigners are welcome to chime in, of course, but New Zealanders always dominate the vote."

Last year the White Faced Heron found itself on the receiving end of a similar voting scandal which was quickly rectified by the organisers.

The Kea was eventually crowned New Zealand's Bird of the Year for 2017.

Last year New Zealanders counted more than 15,000 Kererū

The Kererū is the front runner to take out the award this year Photo: Supplied/ Tony Stoddard

In 2015 two 15-year-old girls created a number of fake emails and flooded the competition's voting system with fraudulent votes for the Kōkako.

As it stands, the Kererū is in the lead with more than 3300 votes with the Kākāpō a thousand votes behind in second.

Voting closes next Sunday with the winner announced on Morning Report the following Monday.