Way back in June for approximately twelve weeks we had been taking a
team of four local tribal workers across Lake Tarawera five days a week and
back to work on a special project.
The eradication of Australian, Acacias or Wattles trees.
The story goes- in the early days when native logs were felled and
removed for timber, the trees were towed out across the Lake. To drag them
across the passes between the Lake, horses were used. The horses wore feedbags
which in part contained wattle seeds. They must have been spilt and ahoy we
have an extensive stand of wattle trees between Lake Rotomahana and Lake
Tarawera and between Lake Tarawera and Lake Okataina.
No one thought much about the wattles until it was discovered that they
contribute a lot of nitrogen into the soil which in part finds its way into the
Lake. This then contributes to the increase in algae blooms etcetera in the Lake,
lowering water quality.
In a joint effort between the Department of Conservation, Bay of Plenty
Region Council and Iwi there is a poisoning programme to try and eliminate the
It will take at least 3 to 4 seasons to poison the thousands of large
trees in just the south end of the Lake. Then there will be the follow up to
try and limit the reseeding.
The poisoning process involves drilling holes about ten centre-metres
apart completely around the tree and inserting a poison liquid. Wattles can be
stubborn so it must be done right.
So, for seven
months of the year when the boys are not doing this job they are on Mount
Tarawera cutting down the wilding pine trees and pulling out pine seedlings.
This will be a story we will share on another day…