A record breaking release of one of New Zealand's most threatened native birds, the kaki or black stilt, took place in the South Island's Mackenzie Basin today.
In total, 184 juvenile birds, which have been carefully and expertly reared in captive breeding programmes, returned to the wild this week, where their eggs were originally laid.
The species got down to just 23 birds in the 1980s, now there are 132 adults in the wild.
"It has been a struggle of quite a few years with low numbers, but now we feel numbers are increasing and we're turning a corner," Senior DOC Ranger Dean Nelson says.
It's hoped 50 per cent of the little red legged birds will survive.