Votes are flying in for Bird of the Year, votes flew in a little too fast to the little-spotted kiwi.
1500 fraudulent votes have been found by Forest & Bird for the kiwi pukupuku/little-spotted kiwi.
For a moment the votes pushed the kiwi to the top of the leaderboard, however those votes have since been removed.
"It's lucky we spotted this little kiwi trying to sneak in an extra 1500 votes under the cover of darkness!" Laura Keown, spokeswoman for Bird of the Year, said.
"But they'll have to play by the rules like all of the other birds to win the competition."
Votes came in on Monday between 1am and 3am and were discovered in the afternoon.
Fake email addresses were used and the votes were found by Forest and Bird's volunteer election scrutineer.
This person looks at the data from Bird of the Year and makes sure all the email addresses are legitimate.
Keown said it was 'really easy' to find the illegal votes.
Keown confirmed all the votes came from the same IP address but the location of the person is not know.
Butshe has ruled out foreign interferance.
"All of our birds deserve a fighting chance, especially this little manu, our smallest kiwi, which is so threatened by predators that it is extinct on mainland New Zealand outside of predator-free sanctuaries.
"If you really love the kiwi pukupuku, get out and campaign for them in Bird of the Year. We don't want to see any more cheating."
The kiwi pukupuku campaign manager Emma Rawson does not condone the illegal votes.
"As Aotearoa's national emblem, the little-spotted kiwi represents New Zealanders' values of democracy, fairness, equality, and honesty."
A spokesperson for Team Hihi, who yesterday revealed that their bird is a polyamorous love god with giant testicles, told the Herald: "The Kiwi mob look kind of shifty so we are not surprised. Their eyes are too close together."
This is not the first time illegal votes were cast for nominees of Bird of the Year.
Back in 2017 over 100 fraudulent votes for the white-faced heron.
A scientist at Dragonfly Data Science who has been running a computer programme to track the votes bought the votes to the attention of organisers.
"I've been running these programmes for real elections in the US, UK, and here in New Zealand, so I thought why not do it for Bird of the Year?" Dragonfly's Yvan Richard said.
"I noticed there was a big spike for the white-faced heron at midnight on the first day of voting, so I let Forest & Bird know."
Upon further investigation, it was found that all 112 votes came from the same IP address in the Christchurch area.
Keown said this years race for the top title is 'really close' with the albatross leading the race.
With the Kākāpō close behind.
Keown is asking for those wanting to vote to do it correctly and not cheat.
Legitimate votes for Bird of the Year can be cast online before 5pm on Sunday, November 15.