New Zealand's famous 'bugman', Animal Planet's Ruud Kleinpaste has urged garden nurseries to stop selling plants that could invade and damage the country's eco-systems.
Mr Kleinpaste made the plea when he presented West Auckland's Oratia Native Plant Nursery with this year's most Weed Wise Nursery Award from the Council of Australasian Weed Societies Inc. (CAWS).
CAWS is the overarching body for the New Zealand Plant Protection Society and six Australian State weed societies, and presents the Awards to celebrate nurseries that sell only 'environmentally-friendly' plants, unlikely to invade and damage natural areas
"New Zealand's biodiversity - the assemblage of plants we have in this country - is something very special, and must be preserved, because of the pressures it is under from alien species brought here by increasing international trade and travel," Mr Kleinpaste said.
"It is up to us all to help preserve it, and one of the best ways we can do that is to discourage nurseries selling, and gardeners growing, species that are invasive and could further damage our unique ecosystems. That is what this award is about."
The Award presentation was made at the Oratia Native Plant Nursery to owners Geoff and Bev Davidson. CAWS said Nursery owners, Geoff and Bev Davidson, are outstanding with their exceptional efforts over more than thirty years in promoting native plants for gardens, and in providing alternatives to exotics that can become garden escapes.
Geoff, who began growing native plants in the 1970's in response to local environmental issues, said he remained dedicated to preserving what was left of New Zealand's natural heritage.
"In the nursery here we only sell native plants that organizations and gardeners can plant, but we also spend a lot of time and energy growing a range of rare and endangered species that many people never get the chance to see anywhere else," Mr Davidson said.