A kakapo on Little Barrier Island in the Hauraki Gulf has laid three fertile eggs, much earlier than expected.
Heather is one of three females on the island, also known as Hauturu o Toi, which were placed there in 2012 as part of a trial to find out if the endangered bird can raise its chicks without support.
The Department of Conservation's kakapo recovery manger, Deidre Vercoe Scott, says Whenua Hou island near Stewart Island is the only other island where kakapo can breed.
She says she wasn't expecting to find any fertile eggs for at least six years, so it's an exciting find.
Deidre Vercoe Scott says all going well the eggs should hatch in about 30 days.