When Tamsin Ward-Smith from went to rescue a kiwi chick at Clifton Beach, she'd been told it would probably be dead.
The kiwi, now named Clifford, is one of many kiwi doing it tough in the recent hot and dry summer conditions across Hawke's Bay, and the North Island.
"Young kiwi particularly have had a rough time of it due to the very dry period," Department of Conservation Senior Ranger Chris Wootton said.
"Kiwi feed mainly on bugs and worms by foraging around in the forest floor and earth with their beaks.
"With extended dry periods food becomes much harder to find as bugs and worms are not found so easily.
"Also, harder dry ground makes it hard for kiwi to forage for food with their beaks.
Wootton said there had been similar reports from around the North Island of kiwi struggling in the conditions.
This year has been particularly difficult for kiwi throughout New Zealand who are struggling in the drought conditions Ward-Smith said.
Clifford was found on February 26 at the beach southeast of Hastings and Napier by a local who gave him to the manager at the nearby Clifton Motor Camp.
DOC was soon called, and Kiwis for Kiwis expert Tamsin was soon at the scene.
The chick had hatched at Cape Sanctuary and wandered down to one of the gullies and ended up at Clifton Beach - "a tough climb back up for a young chick," Ward-Smith said.
Clifford was reported to be dead and Ward-Smith placed him in a box for the journey home, believing he was about to die.
He weighed 156g, around half the weight a chick his age should be and was the lightest live chick Ward-Smith had seen.
Soon enough, she started to hear stomping coming from the box and found he was recovering.
Clifford "wanted to live" and began eating and drinking immediately after being placed in a brooder.
He was fed an artificial diet containing all the nutrients kiwi need and was also supplemented with earthworms - "their equivalent to ice cream", Ward-Smith said.
"I had a huge response from our local community who somehow managed to find earthworms in their gardens and vege patches despite such dry conditions.
"I got deliveries most days from people who wanted to help," she said.
After two weeks Clifford was strong enough to be released and went back to Cape Sanctuary on March 10.
He has been released into a soft-release pen where he will be monitored and given supplementary feed until he is released into a wider sanctuary with a resident population of around 50 pairs.
If anyone finds a kiwi, they should contact DOC immediately on their emergency hotline 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468)