The campaign launched by John Oliver, host of the HBO show "Last Week Tonight," for the Pūteketeke to win New Zealand's Bird of the Century contest resulted in a massive landslide for the colorful water bird.
The online voting event is held by New Zealand's conservation group Forest and Bird to raise awareness about endangered bird species, and is open to anyone, not just New Zealanders, with a validated email address. Oliver decided to feather the voting nest of his favorite candidate, the Pūteketeke. Link to an article on nbcnews.com is here.
Oliver had a billboard erected for "The Lord of the Wings" in New Zealand's capital, Wellington. He also put up billboards in Paris, Tokyo, London and Mumbai, India. He had a plane with a banner fly over Ipanema Beach in Brazil. And he wore an oversize bird costume on Jimmy Fallon's "The Tonight Show."
"After all, this is what democracy is all about," Oliver said on his show. "America interfering in foreign elections."
Here he is on that campaign stop on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon."
His campaign was hugely successful, generating so many votes for the Pūteketeke that the announcement of the results had to be delayed two days due to their voting verification system crashing.
Forest and Bird did not immediately release the final vote tally Wednesday but said the group received more than 350,000 verified votes, more than six times the previous record of 56,700 votes in 2021.