A Race To Help Hihi

Hihi (stitchbirds) were once found across New Zealand’s North Island. They now exist in just seven isolated populations.

We need your help to bring them back.

Place your bets

We’re putting some competition into conservation by pitting male hihi against each other to see who has the fastest sperm. Bet on the male with the sperm that go the distance and you could win some fantastic prizes!

During the 2017/18 breeding season, Dr Helen Taylor from Otago University collected sperm samples from 128 male hihi across four sites. Using her handy mobile sperm lab, she was able to video hihi sperm to calculate how fast they swim.

Helen is currently analyzing the sperm videos to figure out which male has the speediest swimmers, but we want you to guess which male is the fittest. All the money raised from the race will go towards sustaining and building new populations of this cheeky little bird.

Target amount: $10,000 | Amount raised so far: $3896 | Days till end of race: 24

Meet the teams

With four sites to choose from, there’s a hihi for everyone! Just click on your chosen population and then choose a bird to back. If the male you back is the fastest, you’ll go into the draw for a hihi prize pack.


The original remaining population of hihi in New Zealand. An amazing island with almost unparalleled native vegetation (aka, hihi food). But does this long-standing hihi ark hold the fastest hihi sperm in the country?


Just off the coast of Auckland, this island has been home to a thriving hihi population for over 20 years. This hihi population is definitely the one we know most about, but what we don’t know is how good their sperm are…yet!


This tiny gem of untouched forest just outside Whanganui was never logged and has some amazing hihi habitat. Could the small hihi population here be punching above its weight thanks to the giant, old growth trees they can feed on?


Hihi in New Zealand’s capital city? You better believe it! This predator-free inner city sanctuary is home to some of the heaviest male hihi on record. But is bigger better when it comes to sperm speed?

What can you win?

Want to see hihi in the wild? Or maybe consume some hihi-themed wine? Or even introduce some hihi magic to your wardrobe? Thanks to several extremely generous sponsors, we have some amazing prizes to give away to the winners of The Great Hihi Sperm Race. We can ship prizes internationally and will match prizes to location wherever possible:

  • ​Family pass on 360 discovery ferries to Tiritiri Matangi Island, Auckland
  • Family passes to ZEALANDIA ecosanctuary, Wellington
  • Family tour package for Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari, Pukeatua
  • Cases of Hihi Wines
  • Hihi t-shirt from Tumbleweed Tees
  • Honey from Rotokare Scenic Reserve’s own hives
  • Sets of native bird art cards from Bushy Park Sanctuary, Whanganui