Its beautiful estuary, a great surf beach, the sandspit with its special terns and dotterels and the wonderful natural environment combine to make Mangawhai the place to be. Unfortunately, parts of these special places are becoming overrun with garden plants that have ‘jumped the fence’ since early pioneers introduced them. Many were brought here as familiar reminders of home but have become the scourge of the wetland and coastal forests.
The pioneers were made of stern stuff. Fortunately those good genes have been passed down and now a small band of volunteers are determined to tackle and prevent invasive plants taking over our native vegetation.
From the slopes of the Brynderwyns to the shores of the estuary a number of groups and individuals under the Weed Action banner are doggedly reclaiming space for our beautiful native species that make New Zealand so special. At Cheviot St Reserve they have been busy getting rid of the strangling climbing asparagus and replacing it with natives that should be there. This plant smothers all native seedlings on the ground. Then it winds itself around the trees creating weak points where the tree will break in a wind.
At King Rd, the edge of the estuary on the west side was being smothered by Japanese honeysuckle and blackberry. Not any more – thanks to a small band of volunteers giving their time each week. Even seemingly small tasks like removing a moth plant can have a beneficial long-term impact on the surrounding environment.
The most positive impact is on the people themselves. Like-minded people sharing meaningful action for the environment creates lots of opportunities to socialise afterwards. The regular bacon and egg pie with a cuppa enjoyed by one group is legendary. Book groups and barbeques are some of the activities to come out of these new friendships.
Mangawhai Heads and the Goldschmidt track are other special areas waiting to have invasive plants replaced with native plants while several more areas of action are being discussed.
If you would like to give some time to improve our environment why not join a group or start one in your favourite space! For some Weed Action help call Sara Brill on 022 010 4092.
Treating climbing asparagus