A person in Australia who tried to skew the results of Forest & Bird's bird of the year competition has been thwarted after the organisation wised up following last year's voter fraud.
The humble shag skyrocketed up nine positions from near the bottom of the leaderboard after more than 300 votes were cast fraudulently by a computer - sourced back to Australia.
The 310 votes were cast over 24 hours.
"Bird of the Year has been targeted by voting fraud attempts in the last two years, so this year we brought in Dragonfly Data Science as independent scrutineers," Forest & Bird New Zealand spokeswoman Caitlyn Carew said.
"Those votes were all cast using disposable email addresses that are listed in public directories of known fake email addresses."
The competition, which was started in 2005, aimed to raise awareness of New Zealand's unique native birds and the threats they face by asking people to vote for their favourite species.
"They [Dragonfly] are watching the live data as it comes in and can identify and shut down any dodgy voting pretty fast."
Despite the interference, legitimate votes were pouring in with more than 20,000 confirmed in the first four days of voting.
"We're nearly reached half of last year's vote total, 41,000, and there's still 10 days to go."
The blue duck, 28 votes, orange-front parakeet 5, kakapō 4, and kererū 3, also received non-legitimate votes.
Last year votes were also cast fraudulently after it was revealed a person in Christchurch lodged more than 100 votes for the white-faced heron.
Upon further investigation, it was found that all 112 fraudulent votes came from the same IP address in the Christchurch area.
Voting for the 2018 competition closes at 5pm on Sunday, October 14 and the winning bird would be announced on Monday, October 15.
As of October 3, the kererū leads the pack with 2244 votes followed by the kakapō 1437, kākā 1165, and takahē, 855.