Four border terrier-cross puppies joining a conservation programme will keep an eye on threatened birds and sniff out their predators.
The puppies are joining the Department of Conservation's (DoC) specialist conservation dogs unit. Two will be based in Auckland, and one each in Warkworth and Wellington. There will also be four extra handlers.
Pest detection dogs find pests and species dogs locate threatened species so they can be monitored and protected.
DoC director general Lou Sanson said Kiwibank and DoC joined forces in September 2016 in a national partnership to support the Conservation Dogs Programme.
"Kiwibank's support is helping us move from the initial pilot phase into a fully fledged programme," he said.
"As more parts of New Zealand become predator-free by 2050, conservation dogs will be vital in helping to keep those areas that way through quarantine and surveillance work and by detecting incursions early."
The expanded dog unit aims to increase surveillance by 60 days per annum, quarantine inspections by 80 days per annum and respond to all incursions into predator-free areas within 24 hours where a dog is required.
New Zealand has a goal of getting rid of possums, rats and stoats by 2050.