Pictures of rescued quake cows released
Pictures have emerged showing the fate of the stranded Kaikoura quake cows.
Gore farmer Andrew Bowmar released the pictures of the cow family, happily grazing in a lush green paddock.
Bowmar is a relative of the Milltons who own Waipapa Station, where the cows were marooned. He and his partner Lucy Millton flew their Cessna 185 to the Milton's farm near Clarence after not hearing from their family.
The farmer who rescued the three quake island cows has promised they will not be slaughtered.
A chopper, flying over torn farmlands north of Kaikoura, captured the image of two cows and a calf huddled together on a small piece of grassy land. Monday's magnitude 7.5 earthquake had wiped out all surrounding pasture, leaving a sea of dirt around the cows' refuge.
Rescuers dug a trench to free the cows from the small grassy island peak where they were trapped for over a day.
The plight of the stranded trio caught both the world's, and PETA Australia's, attention.
"PETA is calling on the farmer to allow these animals to live out the rest of their lives in peace at a sanctuary, instead of being torn into pieces," a statement from the animal rights activist group said.
Farmer Derrick Millton told Newshub the cows would not be sent to slaughter.
"These are cows that have had probably three calves, so they'll have another seven or eight years and the last thing you'd ever want to do is send them to slaughterhouse - that's not what we do here.
"If PETA want to know, our cows couldn't be going through a better season than we could ever expect. This is one of the best seasons we've had for years," he said.
The stranded calf has been returned to its mother, and will have a "very good future".
Bowmar said the family have been taken aback by attention the cows drew.
The cows' situation was not as bad as people had believed as they made their own way off the outcrop when mustered.
They made their way down as there was a bit of a step round the back of the outcrop, Bowmar said.
They were now safe after being shifted to another paddock, he said.
Despite their worldwide attention, they will not be receiving any special treatment and have been returned with other stock.
Two more cows have been stranded on an outcrop of land near Kaikoura, only hours after the group of three that captured the nation's attention were rescued.
A Stuff photographer found the cows on Tuesday, trapped on a small piece of land. He captured an image of two cows looking up from their grassy prison, about 15km from Kaikoura.
Federated Farmers' communications manager Leigh Catley said there is "no way of knowing" how much livestock was affected.
It was unknown if these cows ever reached safety.
It has been an eventful week for the Bowmar - Millton family.
Bowmar arrived at the station on Monday after he flew himself and his wife Lucy Milton to Clarence in his Cessna 185.
He said they decided to fly up after his wife was unable to make contact with her family at the station.
The couple grabbed what supplies they had in their cupboard and took off in the plane from their farm, stopping at Rangiora to refuel, he said.
As they flew north they noticed a huge amount of air traffic present in the area over the radio, most of which were helicopters, Bowmar said.
When they approached the station, his wife Lucy was devastated by the damage to the land on the farm, he said.
Remarkably the house held up well, Bowmar said.
Bowmar tried to land on the air strip at the station, where he had landed many times before, but after circling three times he abandoned the idea.
The land at one end of the strip had raised around 8-10 metres during the earthquakes, as it rested on a fault, Bowmar said.
He abandoned the landing as he wasn't able to see if the rest of the strip had shifted, he said.
It was then he thought he could he could land on State Highway 1.
"I knew the road had been closed and there was a nice bit of road where I could see both ways."
Circling above the road several times he managed to get the attention of Clarence River Rafting co-owner Ben Judge on the ground below.
Judge realised what he was trying to do and cordoned off the road despite there being no traffic, Bowmar said.
ON NOW: Andrew Bowmar flew his Cessna from Gore to his partner's family farm in Kaikoura, landing on State Highway One. pic.twitter.com/fxRlh58Qd0— Checkpoint (@CheckpointRNZ) November 15, 2016
After Bowmar landed and made contact with his family Judge asked if he could help to check on some people rafting on the Clarence River, which had damned up.
Bowmar said he was able to help track down people on the river and radio their positions. He then returned to land at the strip family farm which had been checked out and given the all clear.