A rare native rock daisy thought to have been almost wiped out in the Kaikōura earthquake is bouncing back with help from workers on the state highway rebuild.
The Ōhau rock daisy only grows on the Ōhau Point coastal bluffs and its habitat was hit by a landslide in the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake.
Department of Conservation (DOC) staff estimated that between 80 to 100 plants remained afterwards, and about 95 percent of their habitat had been wiped out.
Seed from six surviving plants on the steep slope was collected by abseilers working on the transport corridor rebuild.
They were part of the teams of workers from the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery - the delivery arm of the New Zealand Transport Agency and KiwiRail, which is working to rebuild State Highway 1 and the main rail line.
DOC South Marlborough senior biodiversity ranger Jan Clayton-Greene said the seeds were then taken to a nursery in Nelson and grown into rock daisy seedlings. Last month DOC staff planted 50 of the propagated plants back on their Ōhau Point bluff home, and NCTIR abseilers were now planting another 12.
Ms Clayton-Greene said NCTIR staff had also reported seeing rock daisy plants on the bluff resprouting from stumps of damaged plants.
"The new plantings and regrowth give us hope of rebuilding the Ōhau rock daisy population but it is early days yet for knowing whether they will survive," she said.
Ms Clayton-Greene said the plant was "perilously at risk of extinction"
NCTIR plans to plant 67 of the propagated rock daisy plants by the rebuilt transport route at Ōhau Point. Seeds from these were expected to blow onto the bluffs to create new growth.
Another 36 of the propagated plants will remain at the Nelson nursery as an "insurance population", should there be a threat to the survival of those in their natural environment.