A unique ginger-coloured kiwi chick has been released into the wild after reaching stoat-proof weight.
Rainbow Springs Kiwi Encounter in Rotorua hatched its first kiwi with unusual ginger-tinged feathers, Kindara, last November.
After reaching 1kg at a Taupo kiwi creche, he was released at the Karioi Rahui Reserve on the southern slopes of Mt Ruapehu.
Emma Bean, from the Rainbow Springs Kiwi Encounter, made the trip to Ohakune for Kindara's release along with students from Tauhara College in Taupo.
Kindara is sponsored by Tauhara College, and is named after their school and their sister school, Kindai in Japan.
Two students from the college helped the Department of Conservation kiwi team catch Kindara at the sanctuary, and a group of students then went to the forest to take part in Kindara's release.
Tauhara student Tegan Clark said through Kindara's sponsorship, the students knew more about the kiwi, and the efforts that go towards saving kiwis.
Kindara is one of an estimated 70,000 kiwi left in New Zealand.