Locals scoop Weedbusters award
The Nga Uruora Kapiti Project has scooped a regional Weedbusters award for over a decade weed control on the steep escarpments between Porirua and Waikanae.
The group started in 1997 to protect the native coastal forest in the Kapiti area that was being smothered and crowded out by a plethora of exotic weeds.
They became so good at controlling these weeds on the steep faces around the coast that they now contract their services to Greater Wellington Regional Council, Kapiti Coast District Council, Porirua City Council and private landowners.
Greater Wellington Community Biodiversity Adviser Jo Fagan nominated the group for the Weedbusters award for their diligence in tackling pest plants in some of the toughest terrain in the region.
“They have made a huge difference on the Kapiti Coast and have dealt to some of the most persistent pest plants in the region, such as boneseed, box thorn, Cape ivy, tradescantia and host of others,” says Susanne Govella, Weedbusters representative.
“The precious remnants of coastal forest have a much better future because of their efforts.”
Nga Uruora Kapiti Project has over 300 members, 130 volunteers and works with schools along the coast. Their vision is to bring Kapiti Island’s dawn chorus back to the coast.
Project field officer Joe Clarkson says the weed work is often followed by planting to extend the remnants of coastal forest.
The group uses species that evolved to deal with the exposed slopes and salt-laden winds and are tough enough to get established, such as ake ake, ngaio, kanuka and akiraho.
As the new plantings establish, they provide shelter for other species, such as five finger, karamu and taupata, which germinate from seeds spread by native birds. And so the building blocks of a new forest fall into place.
The project volunteers spend up to 15,000 hours a year doing environmental work, which is equivalent to seven people working fulltime.
Weedbusters is a national organisation devoted to protecting native plants and forests from weeds.