New Zealand Wants You To Help It Find Penguin Of The Year

It's time to name your favourite penguin!

The National Aquarium of New Zealand has begun its poll for 'Penguin of the Year' among its colony of Little Penguins.

The species is the smallest of the penguins, and the aquarium in Napier is home to 15 of the tiny animals.

Bec, Dora and other penguins at the National Aquarium of New Zealand in Napier. Image: National Aquarium of New Zealand

The aquarium already names a 'Naughty Penguin of the Month' and a 'Good Penguin of the Month', picked by its employees.

READ MORE: The Lowdown On The 'Naughty Penguin Of The Month' Image That's Gone Viral

The Little Penguins found fame last year when the reasons given for naming and shaming them went viral.

Last month, Burny was given the unenviable title of 'Naughtiest' because she "laid her egg in someone else's burrow and left them to it".

Luckily, Draco came to the rescue of the egg, and picked up the 'Nice' title for her efforts.

But some of the Little Penguins aren't as nice -- last year Tux was in the keepers' bad books because he "pushed Timmy off the pier after it took him an hour to walk there".

The public have until October 9 to vote on who they want to be the winner of 'Penguin of the Year', with three finalists chosen.

The vote for the final three will be open from October 11 to October 16, and the lucky winner will be announced two days later.

On the aquarium's website, the public can find out more about the penguins, with each given a little blurb about their personality and characteristics. Such as Dave, who is the youngest of the colony, and as a typical teenager "thinks he rules the roost".

Or Mo, who is the aquarium's naughtiest penguin, having been given the title the most times last year.

The aquarium announces the winners every month. Image: National Aquarium of New Zealand

It's the second year the aquarium has run the poll for Penguin of the Year, with Timmy taking out the title for 2018.

It was a surprise win for Timmy, as he was a another regular on the naughty list (he liked to steal fish from the other penguins).

READ MORE: Gay Penguins Adopt Chick From Straight Parents

READ MORE: Rogue Penguins Defy Police, Return To Sushi Store After Being Removed Just Hours Before

Last year, votes came from as far as Estonia, Vietnam, Belarus and Guatemala, and the aquarium is expecting the same international response, said Aquarium Director Adrian Fowler.

“Everyone seems to have a favourite, whether it’s one of our more mischievous friends or one who makes ‘nice’ Penguin of the Month board regularly," he said.

Burny was September's 'Naughtiest of the Month'. Image: National Aquarium of New Zealand

The penguins live at the aquarium because they need specialist care from the staff, as many arrived as abandoned chicks, or were injured in animal attacks.

Some of the Little Penguins are partially sighted, missing flippers or have developed illnesses in the wild.

"The main thing is, this fun competition is another way of raising awareness of the smallest species of penguin in the world, and why we should protect our wildlife,” Fowler said.