Date: 27 October 2009
Want to do something to protect Northland’s bush from weeds?
Raewyn Honeybone has an eye for weeds and the vision to transform Maungakaramea – join her in the work or tell her about weed problems near you. She is removing local pest plants and has worked on weeds at the primary school, local orchards, roadsides and farmland, removing privet and kahili ginger.
Raewyn and Ross at a Maungakaramea
site cleared of kahili ginger
Privet became a weed in NZ in the 1950’s and when in flower (November to March) can cause asthma and as Ms Honeybone says, “makes great business for chemists – it was great to get it out of the school grounds”.
Active in raising funds and awareness for forest protection, she has enjoyed the great outdoors of New Zealand for many years as a tramper. Now she does her bit locally to combat the spread of forest weeds in particular shade tolerant Kahili ginger and wandering willie, and the open space invader – agapanthus.
She says “nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little”; but throughout the region individuals and groups are in action.
Little bit by little bit motivated Weedbusters are freeing their patch of Northland roadsides, public and private land, from plants like Kahili ginger.
Raewyn and Ross get serious with
Originally from the Indian Himalaya region, Kahili ginger loves it here in Northland, has been wild here for a long time, spreading to the level of ‘roadside weed’, now beyond the capacity of Councils or DOC to control.
Keeping gardens, local roadsides, and wild spaces clear of weeds will help stop pest plants spreading into Northland’s magnificent forests, wetlands and beaches, pushing out NZ native plants.
Ms Honeybone is supported by the Department of Conservation and the Northland Regional Council in her work and has been sponsored by DOC to attend North tech growsafe training. She is part of the expanding NZ-wide Weedbusters programme www.weedbusters.co.nz which promotes public awareness and action to combat weeds.
Working for free on private land with landowner consent, she has removed privet from Ken and Leona Walker’s avocado orchard. Another local responded to her start in removing privet from his farm by promising to “get out with his chainsaw” and continue the work.
Ross Johnston of Northland Regional council says “NRC would be glad to assist a project headed by Ms Honeybone.” He says “Northland Regional Council has a variety of funding opportunities available for community groups.” Environment Funds, Landcare Group start-up assistance, and Community Pest Control Area applications are each assessed on their own merits, with priority given to those projects that are sustainable, achievable and in the interest of the environment.
People, more often than not gardeners, are the ones spreading weeds like Kahili ginger. Rhizomes re-grow at road sides, shift down waterways, and edge into native wild places. Much resulting damage is irreversible and the rate payer cost-of-clean-up runs into millions each year. Mrs Honeybone regularly visits the local transfer station on Tauraroa road with weed waste from her efforts, from the O’Carrol Rd area – “transfer stations are the safest place to dispose of weeds to stop them in their tracks”.
She is the Maungakaramea Weedbuster with a can do attitude and enthusiasm for nature dating back a lifetime. Tell her about your kahili ginger, or get involved in her in the work, so she can access NRC group funding. Make a move today, call +64 9 4323536.