The Department of Conservation says the cost of recapturing the country's most famous kokako was worth it because awareness has been raised about the plight of the endangered species.
The bird, called Duncan, had been missing from an Auckland sanctuary since 2011.
Figures released to Radio New Zealand show four people spent a total of 146 hours trying to capture the bird when he was found in east Auckland in May.
The Department of Conservation wouldn't detail the the monetary value of those hours as they were covered by salaries.
The department says media attention from around the world on the recapture raised awareness of the risk to the survival of the species. Fewer than 1600 kokako are left in New Zealand.