March 03, 2020
In mid February the National Wilding Conifer Control Programme team invited me to join them to visit a couple groups and sites around Taupō and Rotorua. Of course I said yes! Last year I was really trying to strengthen the NZWCG’s ties with groups which were part of the National Wilding Conifer Control Programme. This year, I’d really like to expand the network of the NZWCG to those groups working outside of the National Programme, particularly on the North Island. While the NZWCG can’t solve all problems, I think that by connecting with new groups, sharing information, and raising the profile of the wilding conifer issue across NZ, we can make a positive difference!
We first visited the Ruawahia 2B Trust at Mt Tarawera. It was an incredible experience - it was awesome to meet some of the trustees and learn about the wilding control they have done on the maunga over many years. If they hadn't done anything, it is scary to think what Tarawera would look like now.
In the afternoon, we visited a geothermal site which is being invaded by Pinus pinaster and Pinus radiata. The next day, we visited Tauhara Maunga on which wilding conifers are being is being controlled by a local iwi.
It was a whirlwind trip but so interesting to see and learn about the wilding issue around Taupō and Rotorua. Wilding conifers are invading unique and culturally significant areas, but it is also very inspiring that communities and iwi have been putting in a lot of mahi to protect these natural areas.