MILWAUKEE – Today, the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum unveiled first Pūteketeke Bobblehead. The pūteketeke, which is also known as the Australasian crested grebe, has gone viral in New Zealand’s Bird of the Century competition thanks to John Oliver. The “Last Week Tonight” host put together an aggressive global campaign to promote the endangered bird for New Zealand’s annual Bird of the Year contest, which is expected to announce the winner on Wednesday morning in New Zealand (Tuesday afternoon in the United States).
The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum will be donating 10% of the sales from every pūteketeke bobblehead sold to the Forest & Bird, the organization that organizes the annual contest and has a mission “to defend New Zealand’s wildlife and wild places–on land and in our oceans.” The bobblehead is being produced by the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum.
Positioned on a base bearing its name, the majestic pūteketeke bobblehead features its slender neck and vibrant mullet. The bobbleheads, which will be individually numbered, are only available through the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum’s Online Store. Expected to ship in February, the bobbleheads are $30 each, plus a flat-rate shipping charge of $8 per order.
Thanks to John Oliver, the “Last Week Tonight” host put together an aggressive global campaign to promote the endangered Australasian crested grebe, also known by its Maori name of pūteketeke, for New Zealand’s annual Bird of the Year contest. This year’s winner will be named the Bird of the Century in honor of the 100th birthday of the conservation group Forest & Bird. Professing his love for the bird, the British-American comedian, who has a long-standing fascination with New Zealand, encouraged everyone to get together to cast their votes before the polls close, which temporarily crashed the voting website. Oliver’s campaign included billboards in India, Japan, Paris, London, Brazil, and the small Wisconsin town of Manitowoc, in addition to New Zealand.
Oliver, touting himself as the “official campaign manager,” was counting on the bird winning in the “biggest landslide in the history of this magnificent competition,” which began in 2005. “Even the name is just a dance in your mouth,” Oliver told Jimmy Fallon on NBC’s “Tonight Show,” during which he wore a costume dressed as his favorite bird. There are now fewer than 1,000 of the diving water birds remaining in New Zealand. “They have a mating dance where they both grab a clump of wet grass and chest-bump each other before standing around unsure of what to do next,” Oliver said in a video promoting the campaign. “I have never identified with anything more.” The winning bird in last year’s competition received less than 3,000 votes. The day after Oliver announced the campaign, Forest & Bird announced that the pūteketeke received more than 10,000 votes overnight.
According to Forest & Bird, the Australasian crested grebe is known for “the unusual way they carry their young – on their back when they are swimming. They forage within high country lakes, particularly shallow lakes with fringes of vegetation.”
“We’re excited to unveil the first bobblehead of the pūteketeke,” National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum co-founder and CEO Phil Sklar said. “People have fallen in love with the pūteketeke over the past week, and regardless of whether the pūteketeke wins the Bird of the Century competition, we know people will really enjoy this special bobblehead which will also raise funds and awareness for a great cause!”
About the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum:
The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum, which is located at 170 S. 1st. St. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, opened to the public on February 1st, 2019. The HOF and Museum also produces high quality, customized bobbleheads for retail sale as well as organizations, individuals, and teams across the country. Visit us online and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.