10 Sep, 2017 5:32pm
By: Andrea Jutson
Kiwi may be earthbound, small and funny-looking, but recent arguments that they should move over on their pedestal for New Zealand's "more elegant" seabirds have been pecked to pieces.
Northern New Zealand Seabird Trust co-founder Chris Gaskin raised eyebrows by suggesting seabirds such as the Buller's shearwater (rako) were a better fit as a national symbol.
In front of an audience of seabird enthusiasts in Wellington yesterday, he argued that as great travellers, Kiwis - the people - were better represented by a long-distance flier like the shearwater or black petrel than a stubby-winged bird.
"These birds travel huge distances," Gaskin said.
"But seabirds have gone under the radar, and that's a real concern for us."
While he said his suggestion to that a shearwater or petrel should replace the kiwi was light-hearted, he really liked the New Zealand Navy's idea.
"Our Orions that go on fishing and search and rescue patrols actually have two symbols - the kiwi, and on the tail of the plane, a seabird that looks like a petrel."