Some 170 Kaimanawa wild horses were successfully re-homed following a muster from the Waiouru Military Training Area earlier this month.
A total of 175 were mustered, however five horses were deemed unsuitable for adoption by the veterinarian and had to be euthanised.
Two dedicated not-for-profit groups had the mammoth task of finding homes for the horses. Kaimanawa Wild Horse Preservation Society (KWHPS) placed 13 horses and Kaimanawa Heritage Horses (KHH) re-homed 157.
A month out from the muster only around 60 horses had homes, but the application total came in at over 270, with KHH receiving a massive influx of applications in March after the annual population survey showed 621, meaning there were 321 horses too many within the range.
The re-homing total applications is a record number in the history of wild horse re-homing.
However logistically the group can only re-home a maximum 160 horses from one muster so the Department of Conservation (DOC) and KHH are planning a second operation for the last week of May to muster and re-home a further 150 horses.
DOC Central Plateau operations manager Dave Lumley described it as a great outcome.
"This is the result of a big effort by both horse advocacy groups — KHH and KWHPS — and demonstrates the value of our Kaimanawa Wild Horse Advisory Group in working together towards positive solutions."
"We'd also like to thank the public for supporting the work of both re-homing groups," Mr Lumley said.
The muster is held every two years by the Department of Conservation to manage the herd at the sustainable level of 300 horses within the area as recommended by the Kaimanawa Wild Horse Advisory Group. This allows horses in the herd to maintain best condition and protects the fragile ecosystems unique to the Moawhango Ecological zone.