A group of Weedbusters in the Bay of Plenty who sprang into action after becoming concerned about the dilapidated state of a local reserve, has won an annual Bay of Plenty Regional Weedbusters Award.
The Hamurana Springs Incorporated Society (HSIS) was formed by the Hamurana community out of concern for the Hamurana Springs Recreation Reserve. The reserve had severely run down with neglect from the two previous concession holders and was overrun by weeds including blackberry bushes.
HSIS now works closely with the Department of Conservation (DOC) who administers the reserve on a ten-year ecological plan. HSIS Secretary Bruce Meikle said that as Hamurana Springs was under a claim before the Waitangi Tribunal the local Iwi, Ngati Rangiwewehi, and HSIS had agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding, with DOC as a third party. This has created a unique tripartite arrangement for the on-going management and restoration of the area.
The main initial thrust of the Society’s work to restore the reserve was to remove noxious plants and other weeds identified in the Ecological Plan.
“At least six working bees a year are held to achieve this and to replant cleared areas,” Mr Meikle said.
“The main challenge for the weedbusters was to access the right heavy equipment to remove the larger noxious plants such as wattle and willows in the streambed. “Without DOC's assistance none of this could be done.”
“HSIS has made significant progress in spraying blackberry, which was rampant after nearly ten years of neglect. We crush the blackberry plants by machinery where possible. This work has been important because about half of the areas designated for replanting was covered by blackberry.”
Mr Meikle said the primary objective was to restore the Hamurana Springs to its former state, the way it was back in the 1970’s.
“The Society then hopes to extend and enhance accessibility to the reserve to enrich the visitor experience,” he said.
Judges at the Bay of Plenty Regional Weedbuster awards said it was great to see the group’s involvement with local iwi and other stakeholders. They were impressed with the group’s long term weed management plan and clear objectives.