Donkey Paddock Celebration

The Canterbury Branch of New Zealand’s Biosecurity Institute celebrated the end of July – “Biosecurity month” and 2010 the year of Biodiversity with a planting day at their restoration site situated with gorgeous views overlooking Taylor’s Mistake & Godley Head.
The Canterbury Branch of New Zealand’s Biosecurity Institute celebrated the end of July – “Biosecurity month” and 2010 the year of Biodiversity with a planting day at their restoration site situated with gorgeous views overlooking Taylor’s Mistake & Godley Head.
 
This July was the first ever NZ Biosecurity month in New Zealand and was launched by The New Zealand Biosecurity Institute (NZBI).   The launch of Biosecurity month was to highlight to New Zealanders that they can all have a role in protecting our special country from invasive species.
 
“It’s about getting rid of the bad stuff to protect the good stuff” says NZBI president Craig Davey.   Davey says, “Biosecurity is not just about pests that threaten to enter our boarders, but also about our internal Biosecurity, those pests that already exist in New Zealand and need to be controlled or eradicated”.
 
And that’s just what the Canterbury NZBI branch & supporters have been working on in a 2 year project removing a range of pest plants & replacing them with natives in Nicholson Park and along the Sumner/Taylors Mistake walkway.
 
The hard working volunteers in the Donkey Paddock above Taylors Mistake
Last weekend 22 volunteers planted 1,250 native seedlings in 90 hours of volunteer time  next to the fenced off Donkey paddock overlooking Taylor’s Mistake beach. After thirsty work on the steep hillside participants got to enjoy a well earned wild foods lunch, beverages and great company.
 
“We wanted to celebrate and draw attention to the month that was Biosecurity month, in a year that is the year of Biodiversity” says Keith Briden Canterbury NZBI branches project leader for the restoration project. “So near the start of July we had a Weedbusting bash clearing  broom and dug some planting holes for planting native seedlings in an area near what is known as the “Donkey paddock”. On the last weekend of July, the end of Biosecurity month we planted 1250 native seedlings & placed plant protectors, a nice way to help prevent weed re-establishment and celebrate the year of biodiversity!” says Keith.
 
“Why do we do it?” Hugh Gourlay, Canterbury NZBI branch president asks himself, “Because the area is one of the most important recreation areas for Christchurch residents. What we are doing will enhance the recreational experience in the area and showcase what can be achieved by community Weedbusters and restoration groups. The establishment of these native planting will replace unsightly weeds such as boneseed boxthorn and broom and add to remnant vegetation in the area that will assist in the re-establishment of native birds.  Can you image how wonderful that will be to hear birdsong while walking along this stunning coast line?!” 
 
Keith and Hugh have been the driving force behind the branches achievements to date. They put in an application two years ago to the Community Conservation Fund and the branch was granted $23,400 over two years for weed control and restoration. Two years on and Keith still works diligently at releasing plants, watering and preparing for new plantings and Hugh continues to support Keith by rounding a troop for weed and planting days.
 
“Anyone can be involved in Biosecurity & biodiversity work in your own back yard” says Keith. 
 
The Canterbury NZBI Branch would like to thank the Christchurch City Council for their ongoing support in the project with fencing off the donkey paddock to prevent animal grazing of plantings, herbicide, rabbit protectors and the occasional fantastic BBQ! Also thanks goes to the many Weedbuster individuals not part of the NZBI for their ongoing dedication and support.
 
 
Canterbury NZBI Branch contacts
Keith Briden, Department of Conservation, 03 3789542
Hugh Gourlay, Landcare Research, 03 321 9683

You can almost see the native trees growing
 
NOTE: The United Nations proclaimed 2010 to be the International Year of Biodiversity. The International Year of Biodiversity is a unique opportunity to increase understanding of the vital role that biodiversity plays in sustaining life on Earth.