15/11/2016 11:30 AM AEDT | Updated 15/11/2016 12:08 PM AEDT

Farmer Saves Cows Stranded On Tiny Island After NZ Quake: Report

A farmer has saved his 3 stranded cows using a pick and shovel.

Three cows have been saved from a mini island created by the NZ quake.

The three cows stranded on a tiny chunk of land after New Zealand's big earthquake have reportedly been rescued.

The 7.5-magnitude quake this week killed 2 people, caused thousands to evacuate their homes and caused widespread damage when it struck near to Christchurch and Wellington.

It also caused three cows to get maroon on a small patch of grass, on a quake-made island. The stranded cows miraculously survived landslides near the hard-hit town of Kaikoura but wound up marooned on the mini land island.

On Tuesday, a farmer who claims ownership of the animals told NZ Newshub he had undertaken a successful rescue effort. He said the three cows were part of a larger group of 14.

The recovery mission wasn't particularly high-tech, relying on a pick and shovel, according to media reports.

"We dug a track with a number of people - the soil was quite soft because it had all been tipped over and bumbled around, we managed to get a track in and bring them out," the unnamed farmer is quoted as saying.

"They desperately needed water... and I think one or two had lost calves in the earthquake so they were a bit distressed.

"It was clear that the cows had slipped down on this big chunk of land. The cattle had obviously ridden these islands of land, and there's this group of cows suspended 20 feet in the air."

The "docile cows" are now reported to be safe and well, having been removed from the tiny island, which was said to be between 500m and 800m across.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has said the damage bill from the earthquake could run into the billions of dollars.

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