The penguin colony at South Bay grew by two a couple of weeks ago when two eggs hatched to produce the earliest little blue penguin chicks on record.
Kaikoura Ocean Research Institute researcher Dr Jody Weir said the eggs were laid earlier than normal in April and went through the normal incubation period before hatching.
"We haven't found any records of little penguin eggs laid this early or chicks hatching this early."
And over the weekend researchers were delighted to find a new egg had been laid as well.
Earlier this month, Weir and her colleague Alastair Judkins took part in the Oamaru Penguin Symposium.
At the symposium, Weir presented on the breeding behaviour of Kaikoura's penguins over the past four seasons, while Judkins presented his work with Mena, the institute's certified penguin detection dog.
Other areas in New Zealand were keen to hire Mena to help with their penguin work.
While there were detector dogs that worked with kiwi, kakapo, whio and other protected species, Mena was the only penguin detection dog in the country, putting her in hot demand, Weir said.
All 13 chicks from the 2015-2016 season were named after All Blacks.
Given that this season could be busier still, the institute was looking for a new theme to help name this year's chicks.
Suggestions for themes were invited through the institute's Facebook page, and a decision would be made in June.
The early arrivals also meant the Penguin Education and Awareness Programme would be very exciting over the next couple of months as the story of the chicks unfolded.
Teachers interested in bringing their students to participate in the programme were asked to contact Weir at email@example.com.
Kaikoura residents and visitors were welcome to join the programme by calling 027 255 5674, emailing for availability, or booking through the i-Site.