Work to save New Zealand's rarest kiwi is going so well a wildlife sanctuary at the head of Picton Harbour is to become a second creche area for them.
Predator-free Motuara Island in the Marlborough Sounds has been the main creche location for juvenile rowi kiwi.
Today there's a blessing ceremony at Waikawa Marae in Picton to mark Kaipupu Point Sounds Wildlife Sanctuary becoming a second one.
Two four-month-old rowi kiwi will be at the blessing, and a total of nine juvenile rowi will initially be sheltered at the sanctuary.
Department of Conservation south Westland operations manager Jo Macpherson says more space is needed for juvenile rowi now that the numbers have risen to more than 400 from below 200.
An increasing number of rowi are being hatched from eggs collected in Okarito Forest.
"We are capping the number of juvenile rowi on Motuara at 50 birds to ensure they can all get enough food to eat which for kiwi includes insects, grubs, and worms.
"Having another creche site at the Kaipupu Point Sounds Wildlife Sanctuary also provides insurance should anything such as disease threaten the kiwi on Motuara," she said.