A population of rowi, the rarest kiwi species, is being established on Mana Island near Wellington.
The transfer of 20 juvenile kiwis will return the species to the North Island after an absence of several hundred years.
The Department of Conservation removed 20 rowi eggs from the Okarito forest in the South Island to protect them from predators.
They were hatched at the West Coast Wildlife Centre in Franz Josef and raised to maturity on predator-free Motuara Island in the Marlborough Sounds.
The rowi will be transferred by New Zealand Air Force helicopter from Ngati Toa Domain to Mana Island.
"By sending a juvenile population north to predator-free Mana Island, we're making it possible for the rowi to breed with much less human interference," says Iain Graham, a BNZ Operation Nest Egg ranger.
Rowi numbers have slowly been increasing from a low of fewer than 200 birds in 2007.