A population survey this year found 169 known kakī/black stilt living in the wild in the Mackenzie Basin, between Tekapo and Twizel.
It is equivalent to the population increasing by almost one third again. The 2019 population was estimated at 132 adults.
The success is down to a multimillion-dollar trapping effort by conservation group Te Manahuna Aoraki that expanded last year. More than 2,100 traps were set across 60,000 hectares of habitat — about 80 per cent of the area in which kakī live.