A kiwi left bloodied and surrounded by feathers when hit by a car in the Mid North has been returned to the wild after making a full recovery.
Waimate North resident Sarah Petersen was driving along Te Ahu Ahu Rd about 10 .30pm on November 11 when, near the junction of Old Bay Rd, she saw something moving in the middle of the opposite lane.
It wasn't a possum because it appeared to have a beak. It seemed to be struggling to get up.
By the time Petersen turned around it was standing up, dazed and surrounded by feathers, and definitely a kiwi.
She was worried it would be hit again so she picked it up and took it to a veterinarian family member.
The bird was bleeding from the bill and one ear and didn't look in good shape, she said.
She kept it in a warm, safe place overnight and called Robert Webb of Whangārei's Bird Recovery Centre the next morning for advice.
''He was really responsive, he's such a treasure. I was so relieved to be able to take the kiwi to him.''
Webb called back a week later to say the female kiwi had recovered and was ready for freedom.
The Department of Conservation and Waimate North Landcare group enlisted a kiwi handler and released the national icon not far from where it was found.
Petersen said it was the first kiwi she'd seen in the wild and was surprised by how big it was, though it was estimated to be only 2 to 3 years old.
Local children took part in the release.
''It was really special for them to see a live kiwi, and a great opportunity to remind them why we do pest trapping and why we have to be careful with dogs.''
It was also a good reminder for motorists to take care at night in areas with high kiwi densities.
Waimate North Landcare chairman Daryl Way said the area where the kiwi was found had the highest North Island brown kiwi call count in the country until it was recently surpassed by the Purerua Peninsula in the northern Bay of Islands.