Happy Feet appears to be taking his time before heading back to Antarctica.
The emperor penguin, who was nursed back to health after washing up on Peka Peka beach two months ago, was released back into the Southern Ocean yesterday.
Experts hope he will naturally find his way back home, but a GPS tracking device attached to the bird seemed to show he was heading back to New Zealand.
He was released near Campbell Island after spending a week on a NIWA research vessel, and he was expected to swim from there several hundred kilometres south.
But the tracking device shows he initially headed north east from where he was dropped off.
The latest update shows he's turned around and is heading south to Antarctica again.
Follow Happy Feet's progress here
Happy Feet slid down into the sea on a tarpaulin at the stern of the Tangaroa, and needed a little bit of encouragement to make the plunge.
"He slid down his specially designed penguin slide backwards but once he hit the water he spared no time in diving off away from the boat and all those 'aliens' who have been looking after him for so long," Wellington Zoo, Manager of Veterinary Science, Lisa Argilla, who is on the vessel, said.
The team on board the Tangaroa will now continue their voyage on a month-long fisheries survey on Campbell Island southern blue whiting stocks.
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