Matt and Vanessa Vujcich farm a 100 hectare dry stock farm near Inglewood on the Egmont National Park boundary, which has been the subject wide scale pest management through aerial 1080 and trapping.
"We came to Taranaki because there was a good balance between farming and conservation values," said Matt Vujcich.
The former Auckland Council senior ranger said that in two years the traps, a mix of A24 automatic traps and bait and set box traps had killed 200 rats, 12 stoats, 8 possums and 18 feral cats.
The Vujcich's pest control has now brought new life to their farm.
Two adult whio and five ducklings have settled beside the Maketawa Stream, one of several streams among 18km of waterways which run through the farm from the national park.
"You don't see a lot of whio in the open, they tend to stick to the river banks and waterways," Vujcich said.
"We are now seeing them spread out from the bush and into farmland. They are strong swimmers and low flyers and quiet and easy to approach.
"It's fantastic to watch them on the river swimming among the rapids looking for food."
Taranaki Mounga, the group which coordinated pest control inside the national park boundary, reported 87 whio ducklings on eight rivers surveyed in the national park during annual monitoring by the Department of Conservation.
There were 54 whio ducklings counted in the previous 2018-2019 breeding season.
Vujcich said the increased whio sightings were the result of the success of the predator programme.
"It's good that the project is growing more successful and not running out of steam," he said.
DOC biodiversity ranger Joe Carson said the increase of whio had also been attributed to multiple sightings of the bird inside and outside the national park boundary.
The surge in whio numbers is an unlikely success story. In the mind 1940s predation by rats and stoats had seen the whio population on Mt Taranaki declared "functionally extinct".
The whio population in the national park is now at least 31 pairs, with 640 pairs in the North Island, Carson said.
Taranaki Mounga project manager Sean Zieltjes said many groups and individuals were working together towards a positive outcome.
"Completing our 1080 operation before spring has definitely helped to knock down predator numbers to give whio the best chance to breed," he said.
"This is backed up by the ongoing trapping efforts by volunteers on the maunga through to neighbouring farmers trapping on their properties.
"All this work is providing a safe haven for whio to continue to thrive."