When I first came to the Far North, the Mangonui County had an excellent team to keep noxious weeds at bay. But now we seem to be creating a range of exotic plants along the roadside to break up the drab range of greens of our native trees.

Wonderful to see the agapanthus and the privet flowering at this time.

I have been escorting cousins of mine from Ireland around the Far North roads, pointing out the pampas, tobacco weed, the acacias, yumy yum, onion and carrot weed, even ragwort, as well as other exotics along the side of the roads.

Combined with the rubbish from fast food outlets and the bottles and cans it has provided them with a great impression of our area. But they have loved the beaches, the sun and the friendly people. So even with the weeds and rubbish they have had a great time.

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ERIC SHACKLETON
Kaitaia