Wellington City Council staff, the crew at Kaitiaki o Ngahere, and groups of community volunteers have been working together to restore Polhill/Waimapihi Reserve. Their mahi is crucial to the future of the reserve – especially when it comes to controlling weeds.
Wellington City Council Biosecurity Specialist Illona Keenan says the main goal is to protect diversity in our reserves.
"As humans we've introduced so many invasive plant species to New Zealand. We need to do whatever we can to control these invasive plants and stop them from destroying our native forests and reserves.”
At Polhill/Waimapihi Reserve, Kaitiaki o Ngahere focuses on controlling five main weed species: bomarea, old man’s beard, climbing asparagus, Japanese honeysuckle, and banana passionfruit. These nasty plants suffocate native plants and trees, spread quickly and are incredibly difficult to control.
Described as a ticking time bomb, bomarea is the most aggressive weed in the reserve. Bomarea is a fast-growing, scrambling vine that forms large masses and can smother and kill supporting trees. Shade tolerant, it also strangles saplings and smothers low growing native species, and its seeds are spread by birds.
Bomarea grows a couple of feet in its first year. In summer it has red/orange tubular flowers that hang in clusters of 15-20 flowers. Then, in its second year, it creates seeds that can be spread by birds up to 100 metres away.
Kaitiaki o Ngahere is committed to the conservation and restoration of New Zealand’s natural areas through the provision of innovative specialist consulting and operational services, Branch Manager Stu Whiterod says.
“We are working with Wellington City Council to control bomarea, old man’s beard and other ecologically damaging weeds from the reserve and to stop them spreading.”