Tauranga and Mt Maunganui’s iconic landmark, Mauao, (‘the Mount’) has now got its own special group of people dedicated to looking after it – and to getting rid of the weeds that threaten it.
Two groups of locals - and some not so local folk - keen to see the mountain’s bush reserves preserved for future generations are tackling weeds that threaten to swamp Mauao. First in the firing line are cotoneaster, hawthorn, privet, woolly nightshade, gorse, Japanese honeysuckle, and blackberry. A small patch of wild ginger at the top of Mauao has already been dispatched.
Next on the hit list is the serious infestation of climbing asparagus on the southern bush slopes. Other weeds invading Mauao include evergreen buckthorn, Mexican daisy, and brush wattle.
Mauao’s volunteers are becoming expert in identifying weeds and recording the position and abundance of other pest species seen while weedbusting.
“This group has already made an impact on the bush on Mauao,” says Tauranga City Council park ranger Mark Ray, who, supported by Environment Bay of Plenty and Tauranga’s Urban Greenspace project, helped get the project off the ground.
“We are hoping that volunteer teams will become independent, just signing in to get equipment, a safety briefing, and gear, before tackling the next patch.”
Chris Dench, Urban Greenspace Project co-ordinator, says it’s the 10th group that the Project has helped get up and weedbusting.
“We’re really pleased it has taken off so well”.
Environment Bay of Plenty’s regional Weedbusters coordinator Sara Brill is also supporting what she sees as a very worthwhile community project.
“Its great how people are starting to identify weeds and get weedbusting by themselves. It makes such an impact on weeds in other places in peoples’ lives too,” says Sara.