Gari the penguin has defied the odds and is now leaving her Wellington nest for Australia.

The nationally endangered Tawaki Fiordland Crested Penguin was found in Hokitika in 2014.

She had extensive wounds to her lower abdomen and left foot.

Gari, the Fiordland crested penguin, will be heading to Sydney to live at Taronga Zoo. Photo / Wellington Zoo
Gari, the Fiordland crested penguin, will be heading to Sydney to live at Taronga Zoo. Photo / Wellington Zoo

Gari was treated on the West Coast and then flown to Wellington for further treatment at The Nest Te KĊhanga at Wellington Zoo.

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Senior Veterinarian Baukje Lenting said Gari had several surgeries when she arrived in Wellington.

"We don't know how Gari sustained her injuries but due to the severity of the wound around her lower abdomen, her vent has changed shape and location since healing. This means she would likely struggle to produce and lay fertile eggs in the wild."

Gari receiving a health check at the zoo. Photo / Wellington Zoo
Gari receiving a health check at the zoo. Photo / Wellington Zoo

Lenting said Gari's situation was rare and had a high fatality rate because she may be unable to pass a fully formed egg.

Wellington Zoo Animal Science manager Simon Eyre said he still wanted to give Gari another chance at a good life.

Taronga Zoo in Australia is the only place in the world where Fiordland Crested Penguins are looked after permanently in human care.

Eyre said when the decision was made to send Gari there he knew she would be in good hands.

Gari as a juvenile bird in December 2014. Photo / Wellington Zoo
Gari as a juvenile bird in December 2014. Photo / Wellington Zoo

"They have a lot of knowledge about looking after this species of penguin, and the zoo currently has two other rescued Tawaki at their facility to keep Gari company."

A blessing and farewell ceremony will be held for Gari at Wellington Zoo later this month.

At the farewell Wellington Zoo will be sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the West Coast Penguin Trust.