New Zealand's most endangered bird is getting another helping hand to keep it off the knife edge of extinction.

Northland community groups, commercial enterprises and the Department of Conservation (DoC) have pooled resources in a new gambit to give the New Zealand fairy tern, or tara iti in Māori, a better chance of survival.

Along with killers such as storms, high tides and predators, the small seabirds are their own worst enemy, making shallow scrapes in sand on exposed beaches.

To entice them off the beach, an exercise this week created three new nesting sites in sand ''craters'' on the