Kāpiti Island's takahē population doubled in number last week with the arrival of Raewyn and Rodney from Mana Island via chopper.
The short move north is hoped to boost breeding success and visibility for the public and make way for birds with more genetic diversity on Mana Island, while giving Raewyn and Rodney a break.
The move doubles the number of takahē on Kāpiti from two to four, giving more of Kāpiti Island's 15,000 visitors a year have an opportunity to come face to face with one of New Zealand's rarest birds.
Ihi and Blitzen currently live on the Island at Rangatira.
The newcomers will be residents at the island's North End, where an older pair had lived for many years until they died of natural causes in 2018.
Raewyn and Rodney have been placed in a temporary holding pen for around two weeks to give them time to settle into the new area.
This will anchor them to their new home before they are released.
They will not, however, have to fend for themselves completely with supplementary food being offered to them a couple of times per week, the same as they received on Mana Island.
In the past Kāpiti has produced one of the highest numbers of chicks per adult takahē pair.
However, the island is no longer an ideal place for breeding takahē because successful native forest regeneration means there is less grassland to support them.
Since 2013 Kāpiti Island has been a popular retirement location for takahē, providing a safe place for birds which are no longer vital to the breeding effort.
At 14 and 13 years old, the couple last bred in the 2017-18 season. They are still capable of producing chicks and are expected to breed if they settle well into their new home, but the pressure is off.
Mana is one of the main breeding sites nationally and DoC's Takahē recovery programme is focused on improving the genetic lines there.
Raewyn and Rodney have played an important role in takahē recovery having first established as a pair in the 2008-09 breeding season and since producing seven chicks together.
Three of these offspring are still present within the sanctuary sites population and the others have helped supplement the Murchison Mountains population.
Takahē numbers are growing at around 10 per cent per year, and have now reached 418 after being rediscovered in the Murchison Mountains in 1948.