Some high-flying tuatara joined passengers on domestic flights yesterday, as the reptiles were relocated to various parts of the country.
A total of 260 tuatara have been relocated as part of Department of Conservation efforts to spread the population.
The tuatara, carried in individual tubes, joined passengers on Air New Zealand flights from Wellington to Hamilton, Dunedin and Gisborne.
The airline and DoC this year announced a $1 million partnership to support conservation programmes. Air NZ assists in about 200 relocation projects each year.
Some of the reptiles went to Whangaokeno Island and Young Nicks Head Sanctuary near Gisborne, Maungatautari in the Waikato and Cape Sanctuary in Hawkes Bay.
Sixty tuatara went to Orokonui Ecosanctuary in Dunedin, making it the furthest south the species has been in a century.
Air NZ head Rob Fyfe said: "We're very happy to be able to give them the assistance they need to return to healthy mainland populations."