New Zealand's native bird population is making a comeback - with latest conservation figures showing an increase in several species populations.

Data from the Department of Conservation measuring the kakariki, whitehead and rifleman populations in the Tararua Forest Park show a significant jump in all three species since 2010.

The increase comes 18 months after a joint DoC and Animal Health Board project targeting pests in the national park started.

Results from the 1080 drop programme had been promising, said DOC scientist Dr James Griffith.


"Counts have shown that the rifleman, whitehead and kakariki have all increased following the operation, compared to the non-treatment area where no 1080 was applied.

"A decrease in possum and rat numbers, which have stayed at low levels for the two years following the operation is also encouraging," he said.

Dr Griffith said project co-ordinators hoped to introduce several species into the Tararua ranges - such as the whio, native robin and kiwi - as pest numbers fell.