Weedbusters pick up award

A volunteer group, which has waged war for 12 years on the invasive wild ginger plant, has been named Northland's top weedbusting group.

The Herekino Landcare Group won the overall excellence award at the recent Northland Weedbusters Awards, acknowledging the group's mammoth effort targeting kahili ginger over an area of 3000ha, about 1000ha of which is infested.

The group's target area is the northern catchment of the Herekino Harbour, including the Ahipara Tablelands and Herekino Forest. Kahili ginger is a serious threat to indigenous biodiversity because of its ability to dominate the forest floor, shutting out all native flora and fauna.

The group's Kahili Eradication Project has progressed from workers on foot cutting the plants and spraying the stumps (a slow and labour-intensive process) to using a tractor-mounted spray gun and employing 10 people through the Government's Community Max scheme to conduct backpack spraying.

In 2011, the group secured three years of DoC funding for a 13-man crew under task Force Green, and aims to cover 500ha this season.

The other top prizes went to Chris Morey of Omapere in the private land category and the Kerikeri Stone Store Weedbusters in the public land category.

Weedbusters is an awareness and education programme that aims to protect New Zealand's environment from weeds. For more information call Sara Brill on 0800 002-004 or go to www.weedbusters.org.nz

- Northern Advocate

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