"I became a member of the BPCT in 2002. To find a niche in the organisation that would suit me I suggested we start a restoration group. Itís initial aim was the eradication of weeds on landowners' private property that had been covenanted, or was about to be covenanted. At the beginning of 2003 we had a membership of about 28 and began our first project.
1. The Monument, a rocky outcrop near Port Levy which has been covenanted, and has near the summit tussock and native shrubs. Our aim was to eradicate broom, which was smothering the native herbaceous plants. Apart from some plants that were out of reach on the rock this was done, by cutting the broom down and spraying. Altogether this took 3 trips. There needs to be a follow up.
2. Kaitorete Spit, Birdlings Flat. Also a private covenanted property bordering onto the sea. The unique vegetation there of divarigating endangered shrubs as well as endemic insects and endangered lizards need protection on the spit. We focussed on the N.I. species Pitt. Crassifolium, Elephants Ear and Brier Rose. It is a difficult situation there however, because seed from Pittosporum crassifolium spreads from the village, where it grows in abundance. The area may need to be grazed occasionally to keep this in control. We had about five working bees there.
3. Summit Road Le Bons Bay. Some four trips were made to clear the roadside of a dense spread of Cotoneaster, some of which had grown into small trees. Since it spread along the roadside for about half a kilometre, it was possible to clear it all and let the natives take over. There needs to be a follow up to look for seedlings.
4. Little Akaloa. Last year we started clearing a small reserve of Banana Passionfruit Vine. This will be an ongoing project, as there are many seedlings in the undergrowth. So far weíve made about six trips.
5. A one-off trip to assist Governors Bay with their Old Manís Beard programme, on private land.
We use small pottles with a herbicide mixture which is made up at home. We are experimenting with Psyllium hulls to thicken the mixture into a gel.
We aim to eradicate the most serious infestations of weeds on private and now also on public land.
The working bees are always enjoyable socially. We have fun pulling and groping under bushes, spotting plants, helping each other. We usually share a lunch, preferably in a picturesque spot. For instance, in Little Akaloa we look out over the sparkling blue bay, and have a swim afterwards.
In future we hope to encourage local people to take an interest, by putting up notices in appropriate places.
There is usually at least one member from Christchurch in the working party, and members come from the whole Peninsula, thus linking rural and urban communities. Membership is nearing 50. Usually we have about 4 to 7 people in a working party. We meet the first Saturday of the month, with occasionally an extra day.
We are learning how to recognise certain weeds, and how to use herbicides.
The BPCT newsletter ĎLand Notesí usually has a feature on what the group is up to, and this publication reaches 4000 people."