The person responsible for killing a rare New Zealand falcon in Paraparaumu could go to jail and face a $100,000 fine.
The kārearea is pictured on our $20 note and is protected in New Zealand, so this death has prompted an investigation by the Department of Conservation (DoC).
The young bird's body was still warm when it was found in a paddock on Eucalyptus Way on Thursday.
Simon and Katie Ford, who found the body, said they were shocked "someone would shoot such a beautiful animal".
"We are planting native trees and want to encourage the birds back," Ms Ford said.
"A few people have responded on our valley Facebook page about seeing the bird in the few days prior and are horrified that it has been killed."
According to neighbours, some teenage boys in Nikau Valley were seen target shooting in the last week.
David Moss, a DoC biodiversity ranger, said the shot was direct and appeared to be intentional.
"For someone to shoot this bird is appalling," he said.
"This was a young bird, probably the offspring of a pair nested nearby. A falcon in your area should be a celebration - a sign of a healthy ecosystem. Instead someone has taken its life."
Anyone with information about the kārearea's death is asked to contact DoC's Kapiti Wellington office on (04) 470 8412.
Mr Moss says kārearea can often hunt domestic poultry and says if people are having trouble with the birds targeting their stock, killing the falcon isn't the answer.
"If people experience problems with falcons attaching domestic birds, contact your local DOC office for advice, but don't shoot them!"