Ranger Sharyn with albatross chick
Image: Chris McCormick | ©


Over 3,200 people voted and now this year's Royal Cam chick has a name.


We had over 2,500 name submissions this year, making it a tough job to select just 20 names based on the judging criteria. We had a variety of names that made it through to the top 20, including names of English, Māori, Spanish and Arabic origin.

Those 20 names went to the Te Poāri a Pukekura (Pukekura Co-management Trust) who voted on their top five names to go out to the public for voting.

We had more than 3,200 people vote for their favourite name over a week. The results are in and we have a winner.

Winning name

Introducing Atawhai, the winning name for this year's Royal Cam chick.

We had 866 votes for the winning name Atawhai and 666 votes for the second place name, Marama.

Name pronunciation for Atawhai (MP3, 34K).

Name inspirations

  • Māori for kindness. Kindness has been one of the resounding messages throughout the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and has enhanced connections within our communities. As Atawhai spreads her wings across the oceans during migration, her name will celebrate the message of kindness worldwide. The name Atawhai also reflects the kindness and dedication of New Zealanders and DOC staff towards the goal of sustaining the royal albatross colony at Taiaroa Head.
  • Being kind to one another now and always. Something that has been so important in this most difficult and extraordinary year.
  • Is a reminder that we should show kindness to all beings great or small.
  • The word means 'to show kindness' as well as 'serenely beautiful'.
  • Connecting with the world through kindness and that it has brought people together over this difficult year.
  • Atawhai fits in with the overarching COVID-19 message of 'stay safe - be kind' which is an important guideline to try to live by during these times and beyond. Also relates to the kindness the parents show their chick by preening her affectionately whenever they feed her.
  • Jacinda's reminder to "Be kind" during these times. Atawhai means to show kindness and care.
  • COVID came and imprisoned my auto-immune body within the walls of home. Pippa lives,  spent her days on the screen of my iMac beside me on the dining table, modelling albatross patience and stillness fed by devoted parents, surveying the magnificence from Taiaroa Heads, her solitude and spirit calming my soul and body. Atawhai is the feeling I have for this wonderful creature.

The winners

Thanks to the Royal Albatross Centre for supporting the competition with a selection of prizes.

We had 13 people submit the winning name Atawhai and six people who submitted Marama. We randomly drew a winner for each prize category.

Congratulations to our winners:

  • First prize goes to Nikita Baynes. You have won a one-on-one virtual tour with a DOC ranger showing you around the headland, the nest and the Royal Albatross Centre. This is your chance to ask all your albatross questions too. You also receive a professionally printed and framed A3 image of this year's chick.
  • Second prize goes to Josephine Kennington. You have won a glass and bamboo albatross water bottle and the book 'Albatross: Their World, Their Ways' by Julian Fitter, Mark Jones, and Tui Roy.
  • Spot prizes go to Joan Rotherham, Neil Mathew and Avalon Fraser. You have won a prize pack made up from some of the following items: Albatross tea towel, keep cup, soft fluffy albatross toy, albatross print and DOC merchandise.

Two spot prizes were randomly selected from all valid name submissions and the third spot prize was randomly drawn from the top 20 names shortlist.

We'll be in contact with the winners about your prizes.

Read the full terms and conditions.

Check our blog for upcoming posts about the 'could have been' names. 

Competition theme

This year's competition theme was Celebrating Connection which has been reflected in the winning name.

Royal Cam has brought connection to people all around the world, uniting and connecting us together and with nature and conservation.

Many of our audience have and still is impacted by COVID-19, isolated from others and from nature. Celebrating Connection is a theme centred around unity and connecting with each other and nature through tough times.

The albatross are global wanderers and their journeys connect the world. 

Judging criteria

The judges were looking for:

  • relevance to the theme Celebrating Connection, the chick, colony or species
  • originality and creativity of the name and inspiration
  • reflective of the characteristics of the species or their habitat on the peninsula.
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