After predators nearly wiped out Canterbury's white-flippered penguins, local Banks Peninsula farmers intervened to try and save the colony.
Roughly 80 percent of the penguins were wiped out 30 years ago by stoats and ferrets and now the species is becoming increasingly vulnerable to global warming.
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Shireen Helps, owner and founder of Pohatu Penguins, a business which helps to protect penguins, said she has found many dead penguins.
The penguins are unique because they live in high altitude rocky terrains and have to fight for their share of fish, often travelling 700 metres off shore for their feed.
Ms Helps and her farming neighbours set up a pest programme and help to care for injured and malnourished penguins.
Tour groups help to fund the project, which now has more than 1200 breeding pairs.
With the breeding season over, the last of the chicks is being released and the signs are good that it will leave.
"The closer they get to the sea, the more excited they become," said Ms Helps.
After the penguin walked into the sea, Ms Helps said it had all gone to plan.
"To see one go like that, I mean you know that one was perfect. That was the perfect release, that penguin was ready."
It will hopefully return in September and add to the penguin colony.