Efforts to save a kiwi injured when it was hit by a car north of Gisborne last week have failed.
The kiwi had surgery this week to repair a pelvis fracture but complications arose and it had to be euthanised, said Department of Conservation spokesman John Lucas.
DoC was saddened by the death of the bird, named Motu by the family who rescued it.
"This experience has clearly shown just how important kiwis are to all New Zealanders."
The veterinarian team at Massey University had tried all it could to save it, said Mr Lucas.
"It's nice to be able to reassure everybody who has followed this story that to save the kiwi everything was done that could be."
Motu was hit by a car driven by Gisborne resident Cory Scott last Wednesday night near the upper Motu River.
Mr Scott and his two sons raced back to town with the bird in a desperate bid to save it.
The efforts of Mr Scott were applauded by DoC.
"The department commends Cory Scott for his prompt actions in trying to save the kiwi after the accident," Mr Lucas said .
Mr Scott was saddened to hear about the kiwi but said he was looking at the positives.
"If anything, it provided an education for me and hopefully to others who might be involved in similar situations."
The little bird had a huge effect on him.
"From the moment I saw his figure in the middle of the road on that fateful night, my life was changed forever."
Mr Scott said DoC's support for New Zealand's national bird was outstanding.
"They couldn't have done a better job."
Mr Lucas said there were fewer than 70,000 kiwis and the major threats to their survival were pests, dogs and vehicles.
"This incident has highlighted the need for drivers to keep an eye out for kiwi."