Birdman Wellington makes a big splash

Taranaki Wharf came alive on January 21 with thousands of people turning out to watch the iconic Birdman Wellington competition. 

Momo Altahan, team member of "Mo-Diggideeeeez" on board the winning pirate ship entry.

Momo Altahan, team member of "Mo-Diggideeeeez" on board the winning pirate ship entry.

Over 40 people jumped from the make-shift “airstrip” on the wharf and jumped into the harbour wearing handmade flying costumes for the annual Wellington Anniversary event.

Costumes included a giant toilet, endangered native birds and the Spice Girls. Four staff members from The Co-Operative Bank took flight dressed as human-sized penguins.

The team entry of Scotty Hunter and Mo Altahan took top honours with their mobile pirate ship and matching pirate costumes. Scotty Hunter of Wainuiomata said the pair entered the competition for a laugh. "I've always wanted to jump off the wharf in a boat. It was awesome."

Competition judge and Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra member Sam Auger said the winning costume had something special. "It was clear they put a lot of effort into their machine. And there was an element of risk. I think they landed on top of each other, that's got to hurt."

Fellow orchestra members Bek Coogan and Megan Salole were also part of the celebrity judging panel, along with Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and comedian Raybon Kan. Bek Coogan, a bird-lover, said the competition was “about being a dork, being shameless and having fun. It’s also for a really important cause.”

Birdman Wellington was organised by Forest & Bird and contestants were encouraged to raise money for the not-for-profit conservation organisation.

Forest & Bird fundraiser and competition organiser Helen Ward was “blown away” by the enthusiasm for Birdman Wellington.

“Some of our Birdman entrants fundraised by holding sausage sizzles, pledging to donate $1 per "like" on Facebook, as well as getting sponsors for their big jump. These funds will really make a difference and help Forest & Bird carry out its work protecting our precious native species and habitats,” she said.

Earlier in the day, primary school aged children jumped off a sea-level platform in the Birdkidz competition.

 

Supreme Winner” "Mo-Diggideeeeez", Scotty Hunter, Momo Altahan (team entry)

Best Individual Costume: John Irving

Best Flight Attempt: "Pan Am", Plumbing World (team entry)

Biggest Splash: Andrew Ward

 

 
Contact: Helen Ward, Birdman Wellington organiser,  0275 645 720 , 801 2213, h.ward@forestandbird.org.nz
For high-res images contact Forest & Bird Communications Officer, Jolene Williams,  027 3255 125 ,  (04) 803 1020  j.williams@forestandbird.org.nz