Twenty little spotted kiwi are making themselves at home following their release into Shakespear Open Sanctuary at the weekend.
The release is part of the council’s efforts in supporting the national conservation of the smallest and second-rarest of kiwi species.
The release event was attended by more than 340 people, including Mayor Phil Goff, project partners and local volunteers.
The kiwi were transported from Tiritiri Matangi and Kapiti Islands to Shakespear, where they were welcomed with a pōwhiri from Ngāti Manuhiri before being released in secluded bush areas across regional park and New Zealand Defence Force land within the sanctuary.
Among the released kiwi was one of the original Tiritiri Matangi Island founder birds, who is now more than 24 years old.
The council hopes to release a further 20 little spotted kiwi to Shakespear over the next few years to establish a genetically thriving population.
The reintroduction has been made possible thanks to Shakespear Open Sanctuary Society Inc (SOSSI), New Zealand Defence Force, Department of Conservation, Ngāti Manuhiri, ART Confederation, Kiwis for Kiwi, Foundation North, Ministry for the Environment, Watercare Services and Air New Zealand.