A top Hawke's Bay kiwi conservation initiative is already enjoying an improved nesting season, following reduced numbers last year due to dry conditions.
The Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust's Maungataniwha Kiwi Programme, located in inland Hawke's Bay, has collected eight eggs in the first two weeks of September.
A total of five were viable.
The programme, one of the most prolific kiwi conservation initiatives in New Zealand, comprises 49 paired male kiwi - up by 11 from last season.
Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust staff Barry Crene hoped the 2020/2021 kiwi nesting season will be better than last year's, when dry conditions across the North Island resulted in kiwi producing fewer eggs than normal.
Crene said a third egg-lift is scheduled for this week and expected to retrieve more eggs in the coming months.
More than half of birds monitored as part of the programme failed to build second-clutch nests or produce an expected second set of viable eggs.
The eggs collected by the trust are delivered to the National Kiwi Hatchery in Rotorua for incubation, with the resulting chicks sent to predator-proof enclosures to be reared until large enough to defend themselves in the wild.
Fully-fledged chicks released back into the forest as part of the project have an approximately 70 per cent chance of survival.
This survival rate contrasts starkly with the five per cent chance of making it to adulthood if hatched in the bush and left unprotected against predators.
The trust, which was established in 2006, runs a total of eight native flora and fauna regeneration projects.
These include a drive to increase the wild-grown population of the rare shrub Kakabeak and the re-establishment of native plants and forest on 4000 hectares currently, or until recently, under pine.