The story of the kororā (little penguin) found tangled in a fishing line two weeks ago has had a happy ending.
On Monday he was released to the Napier Port kororā sanctuary by Rebekah Cuthbert, National Aquarium of New Zealand supervisor birds, and Liv Flynn of Hawke's Bay Bird and Wildlife Rescue Charitable Trust.
The penguin was found at Westshore by a couple of walkers and taken to the Hawke's Bay Bird and Wildlife Rescue Centre, before being transported to Taradale Veterinary Hospital to have the line removed.
The kororā, who was "clearly stressed" before the line was removed, was then taken to the aquarium for rehabilitation.
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Starting out 30 per cent underweight and dehydrated, after being stabilised with fluids, fed a well-balanced diet and getting in plenty of daily swims soon meant he was fit and healthy enough to return to the wild.
"This is part of the job I really enjoy. Being able to treat unwell penguins and have them released to the wild is a win-win situation for all," Cuthbert said.
The newly microchipped bird seems to have "settled in well" to his new surroundings, and the port team will check on his progress until he decides to make his way back into the water.
Paul Rose, the port's environmental advisor, said: "It's now up to this penguin whether it decides to make our sanctuary a temporary home or a new more permanent one that it keeps coming back to."
Aquarium general manager Rachel Haydon said she was grateful for "vigilant, caring members of our community keeping an eye out for the health and wellbeing of our precious kororā.
"They are an important link to local wildlife that helps us do our important rehabilitation mahi when these little guys get in trouble. This is an important reminder for everyone to discard their fishing equipment properly too."
* If you see an injured kororā, please phone the Department of Conservation on 0800 DOC HOT.