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Sistertons Lagoon Weedbusting
Jul 1, 2007
Author: Kirsty Gaddum, East Coast Weedbusters Coordinator

It always amazes me how I can surprise people when talking to new groups about weeds and what ‘Weedbusters’ is about. In the past year ‘Weedbusters’ has given presentations to Garden Clubs, Forest & Bird and other community groups.

When pictures of different species of invasive weeds are shown, many people are taken aback that the plant is actually classified as an invasive weed. And it is also listed on the National Plant Pest Accord which bans the sale and propagation of certain plants.

Many of these weeds were ornamental plants but have taken to the thriving climate of New Zealand and wrecking havoc over the country by threatening our ecosystems and biodiversity.

One unique ecosystem in the Gisborne region is the Sistertons Lagoon which is one of the last remaining finger lakes, or lagoons, fed by a spring in the Gisborne District. In the past it has been used as a dumping ground for all types of waste, from industry to household rubbish. However now it has a new release of life thanks to the Earth Centre protecting the land with a QEII covenant, spearheaded by Murray Palmer.

There are plans to restore this wetland and potential for walking tracks to view the wildlife.

It is evident in this location that there used to be a house, as there are patches throughout the wetland of stinking iris, smilax, blackberry, Italian arum lilly and wild ginger. This is a classic example of how ornamentals have escaped and have become invasive.

As I mentioned in my last newsletter, Ka Timata alternative school students have been chopping out the blackberry and cleared a large area. Last week they were awarded with a Certificate of Appreciation for their dedicated efforts in ‘weedbusting’.

Anyone who is interested in ‘weedbusting’ and planting natives to restore this wetland can contact Tui Foster – email, or Ph 8674708.

The ‘weedbusting’ tool kit is overflowing with new loppers, hand saws and spades for any ‘weedbusting’. Please feel free to come and use this resource as that is what it is there for.

Register your ‘weedbusting’ group on the ‘Weedbusters’ website, and get a free pack of useful information, even if you are only doing a little bit of weeding. It all counts and motivates everyone else to join in on the fun. ‘Weedbusting’ is not just about weeding, but also creating a community spirit to protect special areas of significance.

You can contact me on 8690460 extn 6630 or

Go Weedbusters!