Seals ushered to safety by specialist crews in Kaikoura

The rebuild of State Highway One north of Kaikoura is in its final stages, with road crews reclaiming parts of the shoreline.

As sea walls and a new bridge go in, a specialist team have been employed to protect the coast's famous seal colony.

The coast's inhabitants are herded away from any danger by helicopter to the safety of the sea, as parts of the coast are too dangerous to set flipper on. 

Senior Seal Handler Simon Childerhouse says "there are potential hazards with the construction sites and the rock fall", which is the main reason they're being moved to safe area.  .

The work, captured on film by the road crews is necessary to keep the animals safe, after last year's devastating 7.8 quake.

Construction is accelerating, with 1300 people now on the job after months of landslide clearing work.

With the path clear, contractors are now focusing on the rebuild of the road and reconnecting the highway.

"When these roads were initially built, they were built on the land side. We're building in the ocean now, more or less, we're building in situations that are really challenging," says Hamish Meiklejohn,  NCTIR Project Manager.

They're carving into the shoreline, building a sea wall over five metres to keep the ocean at bay, along with the140 metre 'Iron Gate' bridge, just past Mangamaunu.

It's now time for the final push, with seven of the 10 major landslides now cleared; these crews have just over three months to get the road open for Christmas.