A Bay View family who found a penguin/kororā swimming in their paddling pool has helped return the creature to the ocean.
Andrew Hall, of Rogers Rd in Bay View, Napier, said he spotted the penguin when he went to the garden to pick some strawberries on Friday morning, before looking at the paddling pool and thinking "what on earth is that?".
"As I got closer to the paddling pool I thought it could be a seagull or something until I realised it was penguin swimming around looking happy as can be," he said.
"We are quite far from the beach. We are on the front section, then there's a back section behind us and then railway tracks and then 50 metres of scrub and then the beach. So it had come quite a way."
Hall added: "We called the kids out to look and they sat there and had breakfast with him."
After contacting the Department of Conservation (DoC), Hall was advised to leave the penguin overnight. But, after it remained poolside the following morning, DoC sent somebody out to help transport the lost penguin to the beach.
"On Saturday, we all took him down to the beach and released him. He swam off into the sunrise," Hall said.
"We didn't feed it, in case it decided it wanted to live here forever and our cat didn't really bother with it. The dog was fenced off on the part of the lawn, so it was pretty safe fenced off in its own private section of the back yard."
According to DoC, between November and March during their moulting period, the penguins come ashore to shed feathers and grow a new coat. During this time, they are vulnerable.
Smaller penguins can walk up to 1km inland and travel 100m in elevation, Rachel Haydon, general manager of the National Aquarium, said.
"It's a bit of a mystery as to why it went into the pool. We think it may have come in to moult, saw the pool and took advantage," she said.
It is thought the penguin may have come inland looking for a place to nest, to moult or could have been fleeing from the orca currently swimming along Hawke's Bay shores.
"Penguins are nesting at this time of year and are known to travel quite far inland at times. They are a lot more athletic than they look," Denise Fastier, DoC senior ranger of biodiversity, said.
DoC recommends leaving penguins alone and keeping dogs away from their nesting areas.
Hall added: "My kids thought it was awesome. They invited all the other kids from the neighbourhood to come up to our house and have a look.
"Friends were popping in throughout the day to have a look, colleagues popped in. It was a bit of neighbourhood celebrity."