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More than 200 people packed into the venue at the Otago Museum to watch seven speakers talk for seven minutes each on what they thought made Dunedin the nature capital of the country.
The night was hosted by Jesse Mulligan, of The Project and Radio New Zealand.
He urged the crowd to clap for their favourite speaker, and New Zealand Sea Lion Trust chairman Steve Broni won in a tight battle with museum director Ian Griffin, who spoke about the night sky.
Festival co-ordinator Jeannie Hayden said the night was "very entertaining".
"It really did show the diversity of Dunedin wildlife."
It had the large turnout the trust thought the event deserved, she said.
"We hope it bodes well for the rest of the festival."
Wild Dunedin’s New Zealand Festival of Nature includes 70 events and will run until Wednesday.
This morning, Mr Mulligan and Department of Conservation threatened species ambassador Nicola Toki will host their Critter of the Week segment at the Hutton Theatre.
Tomorrow, for Earth Day, Orokonui Ecosanctuary will host festival guests and offer discounted tours as well as holding a range of other attractions.