26 Feb 2013

Hopes rare plant will thrive in the wild

9:17 pm on 26 February 2013

Conservationists have boosted the number of one of New Zealand's rarest native plant species by a third in the wild.

The kakabeak, a shrub found only in New Zealand, holds the highest possible threatened plant ranking from the Department of Conservation. Until now there were 110 in the wild.

Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust has flown 35 kakabeak from a nursery in Napier to the Waiau Bluffs in Te Urewera National Park where they were planted with wild kakabeak.

Fences and rock will protect the plants from animals.

Trustee Pete Shaw says it is important to encourage the introduced kakabeak to thrive naturally and hopes the plants will reproduce on their own.