They are Draco, Elmo, and Mo.
Many were relieved to learn the aquarium’s incumbent penguin ruler, Timmy, was not a finalist. His reign has been dotted with scandals, including a series of fish-stealing incidents that led some penguins to call for his imbeachment.
Meet the finalists
BNN’s political reporters have completed a beak-down on the top three kororā candidates.
This year, voters are encouraged to support one of two major political parties. The Good Party represent birds who behave nicely and put the greater good before themselves. The Naughty Party are more focused on getting what they’re entitled to, no matter how badly they have to behave to do so.
Draco is a friendly old gal who likes to pop around to the other burrows for a cup of tea and a yarn about how the oceans just aren’t like they used to be.
She has faced adversity in life, having been hit by a car while crossing the road and suffering a head injury. She also shacked up with Timmy, who is a notoriously bad boy.
She has received Good Penguin of the Month once in the past year, for taking care of Burny’s egg (which she left in her burrow), and for sticking up for Timmy when Tux rightly tried to push him off the pier.
Overall, she is a kind and patient grandmotherly figure, making her a wholesome choice for Penguin of the Year.
Mo is seven years old and represents the Naughty Party. He is a bit of a bad boy and was the naughtiest penguin this year. He featured on the list twice, more than any other penguin, for crimes such as hoarding nesting materials, stealing fish from other birds, and just being a bit lazy.
Despite still being naughty, keepers at the National Aquarium say his behaviour has improved slightly, possibly due to their name and shame strategy.
However, Mo has switched his focus recently to being more of a ladies man. He currently has two girls on the go, including Betty and fellow finalist Elmo (which is bound to cause some drama back at the burrow). Perhaps his slightly better behaviour is the influence of his two girlfriends, though he is still quite lazy. With double the flipper slaps keeping him in line back at the burrow, he is proud as punch to be a finalist for a second year.
With the campaign slogan “Building a Brighter Nest for Certain Penguins”, a vote for Elmo is a strong vote for the Naughty Party.
Elmo is a very old penguin. At 18 years of age, she is the equivalent of 90 – 100 years old in human years.
She found herself at the Aquarium after being entangled in a fishing line and losing her right flipper. With her old age has come cataracts, which have left her almost blind.
She is known to be a bit of a home-bird as she doesn’t like leaving her burrow. Thankfully, other members of the Good Party provide a room service at feeding time.
She enjoys living with her husband Mo and his girlfriend Betty who keep her company around the burrow.
Record voter turn-out
This year has seen record voter turn-out, with 7,400 penguin punters from New Zealand and abroad getting involved.
In a statement earlier today, the National Aquarium of New Zealand said “while most of the votes cast in the first 24 hours came from New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom, people from 45 different countries had their say, including Yemen, Uganda, Brazil, Kuwait, Nepal, Austria, Bangladesh, Israel, Nicaragua, and Panama.”
The biggest percentage of voters in this first stage have come from the United States, Australia and New Zealand.
Vote for your favourite penguin before 10pm on Wednesday 16 October. The winner will be announced on Friday 18 October.
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