New Zealand scientists have brought a native plant back from extinction 60 years after it was last seen in the wild, Conservation Minister Maggie Barry said Friday.
The rare white variant of the red kakabeak (also known as ngutukaka in Maori or Clianthus), which grew on cliffs near Wairoa, on the east of the North Island, had not been seen in the wild since the 1950s, Barry said in a statement.
At a ceremony in Rotorua, around 100 of the plants, grown from seeds by the government’s Scion research institute, were handed over to East Coast iwi (Maori tribal groups) to be planted back on their ancestral lands.
“White kakabeak was thought to be extinct, but the chance discovery of some seeds taken from the Wairoa area has enabled Scion to revitalize it. It has been ground-breaking scientific work and today’s ceremony marks a significant milestone for the species’ recovery,” said Barry.