A long-running campaign to save the kakapo has hit a milestone with the population now confirmed at over 100, Conservation Minister Tim Groser said today.

The kakapo population has for decades been only in double figures, but a Department of Conservation kakapo recovery team set up over 20 years ago has been working to grow it.

Mr Groser said the recovery team had been watching a handful of chicks hatch on Codfish Island, off Stewart Island, over the past few days.

Those developments meant the world population of kakapo was now 103 - more than double the number of kakapo alive a little over a decade ago.

Mr Groser said the recovery team was expecting a bumper breeding season this year, with hopes of more than 30 chicks hatching in coming weeks.

The recovery work has been carried out in partnership with Forest and Bird and NZ Aluminium Smelters, with over $3 million having been injected towards breeding programmes and predator proof sanctuaries.