This month we introduce a new columnist, Wayne Bennett of Forest Flora.
Wayne has had a lifetime of experience propagating and growing native plants of the Waikato.

He is the co-ordinator for Ecosourced Waikato, a project manager for Waikato Rivercare and is on the committee of Ngaruawahia Action Group. He has a fascination for wild places, natural systems and native plants and animals.

He introduces himself and explains his passion for protecting and preserving the natural world.


Back in the 90s I was looking over the Waikato Riverbank opposite our place and thought "Goodness if I had all of those weeds on our property the council would be on my back".

So I wrote to the council to get permission to clear the weeds and replant native trees.

It seemed to me that controlling the weeds was one thing but keeping them out was another. The obvious solution seemed to be to restore to the riverbank, the kind of vegetation that had dominated the place for millennia without needing any care. That was over 20 years ago. I have learned a lot since then.

The riverbank is going well.

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These days I help councils and landowners apply what I have learned, establishing resilient native plant communities in hard to manage sites.

I have a small team, we scour the countryside for the remnants of the lowland bush and propagate the right plants for wetlands, stream margins, steep banks and weedy areas.

We have a nursery at Koromatua and at Ngaruawahia growing the plants which once dominated this landscape.