Pestbusters Put the Train into Training


by Chris Macann

A train full of biosecurity professionals has seen at first-hand the beauty of the Selwyn district as well as some of the challenges involved in keeping the area’s weeds and pests down.

More than 200 scientists, practitioners and policy-makers involved in biosecurity took part in the New Zealand Biosecurity Institute’s annual training get together, which was held onboard the TranzAlpine train and at Shantytown near Greymouth on the weekend.Co-organiser Hugh Gourlay said as the train travelled from Christchurch to Greymouth, the attendees discussed and saw first-hand some of the biosecurity issues which confront Canterbury and the West Coast.

“Just as importantly they got to see why this part of the country is worth protecting from invasive plants and animals,” he said.

“Among the issues noticeable on the Selwyn side of the Alps were the spread of wilding pines in the Craigieburn Basin as well as the infestation of broom in the Springfield area, both of which, members of the Institute are tackling on many fronts.”

Mr Gourlay said the visitors were also interested to see the change of land use from pastoral to dairying and how that might bring a change in weed behaviour in the future.


Weedbusters Lincoln resident Kevin Gallagher points out a few landmarks to
Alice McNatty from Hawkes Bay, while Woody Weed, the mascot of nationwide
weed-busting group Weedbusters, looks on.