A muster last weekend has resulted in 170 Kaimanawa wild horses being successfully re-homed from the Waiouru Military Training Area (WMTA).
The Kaimanawa Heritage Horses (KHH) re-homed 157 of the horses, with the Kaimanawa Wild Horse Preservation Society (KWHPS) placing 13 horses.
The re-homing of so many of the animals is remarkable given that a month out from the muster only around 60 horses had homes.
There was a huge influx of applications in March after the annual population survey found there were 621 horses.
The huge influx resulted in a total of over 270, a new record in the history of wild horse re-homing.
DOC Central Plateau Operations Manager Dave Lumley described it as a great outcome.
"This is the result of a big effort by both horse advocacy groups – KHH and KWHPS – and demonstrates the value of our Kaimanawa Wild Horse Advisory Group in working together towards positive solutions," Mr Lumley.
"We'd also like to thank the public for supporting the work of both re-homing groups."
Because the group can only re-home a maximum 160 horses a time, a second muster is being planned by the Department of Conservation (DOC) and KHH for the last week of May 2018 to re-home a further 150 horses.
The muster is held every two years by the Department of Conservation to manage the herd at the sustainable level of 300 horses within the WMTA as recommended by the Kaimanawa Wild Horse Advisory Group.
This allows horses in the herd to maintain best condition and protects the fragile ecosystems unique to the Moawhango Ecological zone.