For Darren Peters, saving the kiwi isn't just about helping them, it also tells us something about ourselves.

"These things are indications of our own health. What does it tell us about ourselves if we can't look after these species that help the whole ecosystem work, so we've got to look after them."

Peters' work with kiwi conservation earned him a Good Egg award from the inaugural Kiwi Awards held in Lyttelton last week.

Peters, a Department of Conservation technical adviser, has helped projects across the country including Northland, Coromandel, Taranaki and in the Ruahine area which saw him recognised along with several others.

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Peters said a number of community groups had helped kiwi numbers come back in force in the Ruahine area.

"They were on their last legs when we started up there and we were fortunate to get on to them in time before they disappeared altogether."

He said the Ruahine project, named Te Potae o Awarua, began in 2005 and now has five groups monitoring 15,000 hectares for pest control.

Capital Kiwi project lead Paul Stanley-Ward said Peters' help setting up his Wellington-based project was invaluable.

"Darren has given us the confidence and the tools to get on and do that stuff," he said.

"If we've got a technical question or troubles with bureaucracy, Darren has always been there at the end of the phone."

Stanley-Ward said it was the little things that set Peters out from the rest.

"If you're in the bush and you've forgotten your lunch, Darren's always the one with the spare sandwich," he said.

"Darren's got a favourite phrase which is 'I hate to wait' and that's the kind of energy community groups need to get off the ground and get rolling."

The awards were created by charity "Kiwis for kiwi" and executive director Michelle Impey was delighted to see people like Peters recognised.

"These passionate and dedicated people are fundamental to achieving our goal of increasing the kiwi population by 2 per cent and we wanted to celebrate the amazing work being done," she said.

"The time, skills, money and enthusiasm invested by individuals, kiwi conservation projects and businesses that support kiwi conservation, is invaluable"