Once upon a time, there was a duck named Trevor. He appeared out of nowhere on a remote island after a terrible storm.
No, this isn’t the beginning to a children’s book, it’s the real-life beginning to the story of one of the world’s most interesting, unusual, and famous waterfowl.
In the South Pacific there’s an island called Niue, about 2400 kilometers from New Zealand. On this 260 square kilometer island is an entire country with a population of of about 1600 people. The island is filled with rocky coves, secret beaches, and coral reefs, attracting many tourists each year.
However, in January of 2018, an intense storm hit the island that drastically changed the population in this island nation – but not like you might think. After this storm, the island now had a new inhabitant, a lone mallard duck.
No one was quite sure how the duck got there, the nearest island was 600 kilometers to the west, Tonga. However that duck got there, everyone agreed that it would’ve been a harrowing journey.
Once the duck landed on the island, he and the other islanders discovered a problem for friendly old Trevor: the island didn’t have any lakes or rivers, not even a pond. The island of Niue was just a barren rock in the ocean. So the islanders decided that they should build Trevor a puddle and welcome him into their remote community. They named him Trevor after the speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives, Trevor Mallard. A fitting name.
On the island, Trevor soon became a celebrity and his puddle even became somewhat of a landmark. Locals would give directions like “turn right at the duck” or “just past the duck and on your right”. In fact, it was directions like this that caused Claire Trevett, a journalist from the New Zealand Herald to write about her experience on holiday on the island. After her piece was published in September of 2018, Trevor got his own Facebook page, gained international acclaim, and his pond was even named the Niue Duck Sanctuary for “The lonely only duck in Niue”.
The islanders fed Trevor corn, peas and rice and even gave him attention. Workers would use water trucks to fill up his puddle when it got low and all around made sure he had a good home. Trevor would fly around the island to different homes looking for food and even became friends with a rooster, a chicken, and a flightless bird native to the island called a weka.
As Trevor’s stay lengthened, many people got concerned that the Mallard might get lonely and suggested he be transported to a place with more ducks or that more ducks should be brought to the island. However, all of this debate was ended sharply when tragedy struck in January of 2019, just one year after his mysterious arrival.
On January 26th, 2019, Trevor was found in a bush after being attacked by dogs. He was gone.
The Parliament of New Zealand expressed their deepest condolences and the Chief Executive of the Niue Chamber of Commerce said, “He captured many hearts and even the rooster, the chicken, and the weka were looking a little forlorn today wandering around the near-dry puddle.”
Trevor will be remembered as the magical duck that he was, appearing mysteriously on a remote island who graced the locals with his presence for a year. We’ll never know where Trevor came from or what could’ve been, all we have is the memory of the world’s most famous and mysterious Mallard duck.