What’s the strangest gig you’ve ever played? New Zealand’s Meridian Energy, in support of the NZ Department of Conservation, has listed a job ad for a saxophone player to help get a rare species of parrot in the mood for love. The kākāpō is a critically endangered flightless bird, of which there are only 147 alive today, but will they be in the mood for sax?

kākāpō, sirocco, saxophoneCelebrity kākāpō Sirocco. Photo © Chris Birmingham/New Zealand Department of Conservation

“With only 147 birds left, they need some help with their upcoming bumper breeding season. Which is where you come in,” the job ad reads. “Meridian already support the Department of Conservation with innovations to renew the species, like state-of-the-art Smart Eggs that help the incubation process. Trouble is, Smart Eggs are only useful once breeding kicks off.”

“Now, it’s well-known that music gets people in the mood for love,” the ad says. “And there’s nothing sexier than the sax. That’s why we’re looking for someone to play some saxy music for the kākāpō and get them in the mood. (While the effect of saxophones on kakapo might not yet be scientifically proven, with only 147 birds left, we reckon it’s worth a punt.)”

It remains to be seen whether some smooth sax will be the avian aphrodisiac the kākāpō need, but Sirocco – New Zealand’s most famous celebrity kākāpō (named Official Spokesbird for Conservation by NZ Prime Minister John Key in 2010) – didn’t need much encouragement when actor Stephen Fry and zoologist Mark Carwardine filmed this documentary for the BBC.

Saxophonists who think they’ve got what it takes are encouraged to submit a video here, and the successful applicant will have the opportunity to professionally record a piece of music, complete a press tour, and will receive a $1,000 voucher for the NZ store Rockshop – as well as the gratitude of a nation. “You may also become a celebrity! (At least in the kākāpō world.),” the ad says. “If you’re not a saxophonist, you can still do your part for the kākāpō by helping us recruit one.”


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