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The World is Loving the New Zealand Weka Olympics

The World is Loving the New Zealand Weka Olympics

A bird-style Olympic themed video, from New Zealand, posted on Facebook Tuesday evening has come to the attention of the world.

The brief video features New Zealand’s Weka participating in events such as the 200m breaststroke, synchronised swimming, a 200m race and Taekwondo.

Weka birds are flightless, unique to New Zealand and classified as threatened/vulnerable. Their main predators are ferrets, stoats and dogs, while Weka eggs and chicks are vulnerable to rats and cats.
The video was posted by Fiona Powell, whose partner is an Island Manager in the Hauraki Gulf. The couple live on a privately owned island which is also home to about 100 North Island Weka.

Powell says she carries her camera everywhere and has captured hours of footage of Weka and other birds. The inspiration for the video came on Tuesday while her partner was watching the Olympics and Weka were cavorting outside.

As of Friday morning, the video has accumulated over 110,000 views and been shared nearly 2,500 times, reaching nearly 400,000 people.

The world-wide audience sharing the video are widespread from Finland to New York, to Mexico to Taiwan, to Germany and France.

All of the comments are positive says Powell, including ‘Only in New Zealand’, to ‘New Zealand bird Olympics the best’.

Powell is surprised by the world-wide response but delighted that people are enjoying the New Zealand humour and their interest in the Weka, given that most people associate the Kiwi as the flightless bird of New Zealand.

“Weka are much more visible than Kiwi and so many visitors to New Zealand have memorable interactions with a Weka – usually along the lines of the Weka stealing their sandwiches. Most people love and respect the Weka’s cheekiness and intelligence,” says Powell, who was the Campaign Manager for the Weka, for the Forest and Bird’s ‘Bird of the Year’ contest last year.

With the predator free vision for the country, for 2050, Powell hopes in the future more New Zealanders will be able to enjoy the cheeky, feisty – and Olympian Weka.
The video is here:
Or on YouTube:


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