Te Radar, David Farrier, Heather du-Plessis Allan and Duncan Garner are just some of the New Zealanders championing their favourite native bird in Forest & Bird's annual Bird of the Year competition, which kicks off today.

Now in its 10th year, the competition raises awareness for New Zealand's much loved native birds and the threats they face.

Kimberley Collins of Forest & Bird said many of New Zealand's birds were threatened.

"Their habitats have been destroyed and introduced mammalian predators such as stoats, cats, possums and rats prey on eggs, young birds and adults," she said.


She said the Bird of the Year competition included all the drama and tactics somebody might see in a political campaign.

Well-known and enthusiastic New Zealanders acted as 'campaign managers' for their favourite birds and would go to great lengths to get New Zealanders to vote for their chosen bird.

"The competition can be fierce, and people find all sorts of ways to promote their bird," said Ms Collins.

"We have had people make videos, run serious online campaigns, design posters, read poetry in the street - we even had one campaign manager get a tattoo of their bird."

Ms Collins said the Bird of the Year competition was one of Forest & Bird's most popular annual events and attracted over 10,000 votes each year.

Voting began at 9am today and would close at 5pm on October 25. The winner would be announced on October 26, said Ms Collins.

People could follow the competition online.