The white-faced heron.

Bird of the Year hit by voter fraud


Forest and Bird's annual Bird of the Year competition has been hacked.

A Wellington data scientist observed a spike in the number of votes for the white-faced heron on Monday night, with 112 votes cast from the same IP address located in the Christchurch area.

Another batch of fraudulent votes were cast for the same bird at 11am on Tuesday.

The culprit used multiple disposable email servers to "sneakily increase the number of votes", according to Bird of the Year co-ordinator Kimberley Collins.

The competition, in which anyone can cast an online vote for their favourite native bird, has become an enthusiastically celebrated national event.

Kimberley Collins spoke to Duncan Garner and The AM Show.

The AM Show with Duncan Garner, Amanda Gillies and Mark Richardson, weekdays 6-9am on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the ROVA app on Android and iPhone.