The Wildlife Photographer of the Year is the longest-running and one of the most prestigious photography competitions globally with the winners across 16 categories selected from 50,000 entries hailing from 95 countries.
From just 361 entries to the Animals Magazine competition in 1965, the contest has blossomed to be the major showcase for wildlife and environmental photography in the world today.
The London Natural History Museum became involved in 1984 with interest and entries growing in number each year.
Winners and runners-up in this year’s contest were announced in October, kicking off a global tour of all the shortlisted images.
The exhibition has now reached Tāmaki Makaurau and opens at the Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum today.
The competition aims to enhance the prestige of wildlife photography and create public interest in conservation and, hopefully, bring benefits to the animals themselves.
The images of nature and the photojournalism featured in the awards have helped tell the stories of the natural world, inspiring people to care for the future of a range of creatures.
Scientists and researchers also use the images to gain new insights into animal behaviour and the challenges they face in a fight for everyday survival.
By sharing these images and helping people to build a connection with some of the most endangered species, Wildlife Photographer of the Year has helped to foster a better understanding of the complexity and importance of the natural world.
Amateur and professional entries for the competition are kept anonymous and evaluated by judges on their own merits.
The lack of bias has ensured consistent encouragement for up-and-coming photographers and helped launch the careers of many famous names in the world of photography today.
The Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition is on until April 2024 at the Auaha Atea Nui special exhibition hall in the Auckland Museum.