Happy Whio Awareness Month!

Department of Conservation —  01/03/2017

Whio Awareness Month kicks off today! It’s a whole month (1 – 31 March) dedicated to our endangered whio/blue duck.

Whio/blue duck. Photo: Sabine Bernert.

Whio/blue duck. Photo: Sabine Bernert

This month is all about raising the awareness of New Zealand’s cool river surfing blue duck and the fact that they are one of New Zealand’s most endangered birds — whio are rarer than kiwi with 23 kiwi for every whio.

Show us your “duckface” selfie

To celebrate Whio Awareness Month, DOC and Genesis Energy have launched a campaign encouraging people to take part in a whio “duckface” selfie competition.

"Duckface selfie".


Just pucker-up, take a photo and you could win a fantastic whio wilderness experience for you and your family.

To enter, simply upload your best duckface on the Whio Forever website and tell us why you want to help save the whio.

You can also show your support for whio (and that you have entered the competition) by posting your selfie on social media with the hashtag #whioforever.

Whio Forever logo.Genesis Energy partnership

Since 2011, DOC and Genesis Energy have worked in partnership to protect whio. This work includes raising awareness of whio, and undertaking intensive work to protect and grow numbers of whio at key sites around New Zealand.

Together, DOC and Genesis energy have boosted the number of whio protected at security and recovery sites from 300 to 533 pairs, and expanded the length of rivers protected from 831 kilometres to 1428 kilometres.

Jenny Burke, who heads the Whio Forever Work for Genesis Energy says that the gains made are “very encouraging” and have prompted the company to extend their support of the programme until 2021. “By then we hope to have reversed the fortunes of whio. At the moment there are less than 3000 whio –  we hope to grow the population to 5000 by 2021”.

Get involved

Check out the other things you can do during March to celebrate our native whio:

• Attend a Whio Family Fun Day at Auckland Zoo or Tongariro Trout Centre
• Enter the Whio Forever colouring competition at your local DOC visitor centre
• Purchase a whio rubber duck from a DOC visitor centre
• Find other great ways to get involved on the Whio Forever website

2 responses to Happy Whio Awareness Month!


    We follow Neo the Whio Dog on the Facebook and he gives a great insight to the beautiful Whio and what is being done and needs done to product these gorgeous birds. Thanks Neo (and Beau and of course their handlers aka Dads)

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