Dreaming of a weed free Whaingaroa

A dream of a weed-free Whaingaroa is the motivation behind the newly formed Greenslade Road Weedbusters.

Started by Leanne Steel, Michaela Latimer and Reagan Robinson with help from Moira Cursey, the group held their inaugural weedbusting day on Saturday, June 13.

QEII National Trust Waikato representative Robbie Bennett dug in with the volunteers and shared some valuable insights.

Bennett has been involved in many restoration projects over the years including his Ngaruawahia lifestyle block which includes several hectares of established and regenerating native bush.

“Our first focus will be the Greenslade Road beach access. It was crazy during lockdown with so many people out walking and we wanted to do something visible so other people would be encouraged to start their own weedbusting groups,” Leanne said.

The group will be battling privet, woolly nightshade, wild ginger, wandering Willy, climbing asparagus and other invasive plants which have a harmful impact on the wider natural environment.

“I saw my first kereru recently fly over my back garden during lockdown. Getting rid of the pest plants and planting natives will encourage our native birds back,” Leanne said.

The group has been given a nice little kickstart by Waikato District Council Raglan reserves team leader Noel Barber with a donation of 200 native plants from the Karioi Nursery.

“It’s so important to be able to get planting once the weeds have been cleared and now is the planting season,” she aid.

The group is also keen to tackle Waikato Regional Council significant natural areas in their patch that are less accessible to the public but with huge biodiversity value.

Eliminating pest plants and revitalising these areas helps protect habitats that support threatened species.

Greenslade Road Weedbusters hope the work they do as a collective will encourage other groups to spring into action.

“I know many people would love to do this in their part of Raglan but they are intimidated by it – it’s a big job on your own,’ Leanne said.

Funding is available for Weedbuster groups and Leanne has negotiated with Timebank Raglan for volunteers to get Timebank hours for their weeding time.

Find out how to start your local group at weedbusters.org.nz or be part of Greenslade Weedbusters at greensladeweedbusters@gmail.com

Janine Jackson