Revealed: Disturbing reason kiwi was filmed paddling in Auckland stream in daylight

Northland's long dry summer is putting kiwi lives in danger.

An incredible encounter with the iconic bird in broad daylight has been met with excitement online.

But the Department of Conservation (DoC) says it's a symptom of a very serious issue with the dehydrated birds struggling to survive the heat.

It was Kiwi meets kiwi in the summer sun - one a very excited hiker and the other a very dehydrated bird.

"I walked past this little brown thing ducking around in the water and I was like 'oh cool, a weka with a really long beak'," Mia Lloyd told Newshub.

It was a pinch-yourself-moment as she filmed in disbelief as the kiwi cooled off in an Auckland stream in broad daylight.

"For about a week after I filmed that bird, it was the first thing - I didn't even introduce myself to people, I was like 'wanna see something cool!'," she says.

"I held onto it like treasure and then I thought actually needs to be shared because this is really special."

But DoC says it's also really scary. Kiwi are struggling to survive the scorching summer.

"We're seeing a significantly higher number of kiwi wandering in the day, having to come into care to be treated for dehydration, or showing up where they've died from malnutrition and dehydration," says DoC ecologist Jessica Scrimgeour.

The dry, hard ground makes it too difficult for kiwi to probe for food which is also where they get their moisture.

So they're having to venture out of their natural habitat, putting them at greater risk of being hit by a car, attacked by a dog and encountering humans.

"I really don't want people to go flying around to where they think kiwi might be and disrupt birds who may already be in distress," Lloyd says.

Because a once-in-a-lifetime experience for one Kiwi means something very different for the other.