Community action in Ōkārito
GorseBusters is a volunteer project in the most stunning environment in the world, South Westland, clearing invasive weeds, and having fun doing it.
GorseBusters came out of wanting to do something positive with our time in our backyard, in a difficult post-Covid year where we had little income. The aim was a small project pushing back against gradual spread of gorse and weeds around the stunning Ōkārito Lagoon, with just a few mates and some local volunteers – it got away on us a bit though; we’ve created a monster.
Three years on, and GorseBusters has become an integral part of what Okarito Kayaks does, of our identity. For a week each autumn, we effectively close the kayak business to host up to fifty volunteers from all across New Zealand – and now the world – to come and join us and our local mates in tackling gorse and any other invasive weeds we can identify and deal to around the lagoon fringe.
Locals with boats and baches; businesses; farmers; musicians and hunters from near and far, have helped house, feed and entertain everyone, more than doubling our town’s population to enjoy a fantastic, social GorseBusting week together. We’ve now worked on some 40 km of shoreline around the lagoon edge, with some areas unrecognisable from their state before we started this.
It’s a prick of a job. But the best beach holiday you’ll ever have ….
We’re committing to continue to organise, lead, equip, accommodate and feed volunteers for a week in autumn each year, to give something back and to keep looking after this special place that supports our business, family and community here.
We’re not just putting our hand out for someone to pay us to do this; this is just going back to the good, old-fashioned, we’re-all-in-this-together Kiwi working bee.
If you’re keen on getting involved or supporting this mahi in some way, get in touch. We’re happily accepting small donations to help pay for the food, tools, and equipment for our volunteers to make this project work – GorseBusters is now a Registered Charitable Trust and has a dedicated bank account at 12-3493-0041428-00; we can send you a receipt for any help you can send. All funds are spent on supplies; no-one gets paid for any time they spend in this endeavour, including ourselves. Many hands make light work. We’d especially love to hear from you if you have, or know of, a business that would be keen to donate or lend goods that would be useful or keep volunteers fed during the week.
If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty and being out in this incredible landscape for a couple of days together as a minimum, or want to help out in any way, we’d love to hear from you. You don’t necessarily need a great deal of experience, but a good attitude and sense of humour is a must; if you have any of your own tools, waders or gummies, or expertise that could help, we’d really love to know.
Should be a great week; Monday 18th March to Saturday 23rd March 2024 inclusive.
Keen? Come and get stuck in…
Please use the form below to register your interest, alternatively you can call us on 03 753 4014 or you can email us at email@example.com
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Ōkārito is a small, peaceful village on the western sea coast of the South Island of New Zealand.
Only 10km off the main highway, Ōkārito is about 25-minutes drive north of Franz Josef Glacier. Look for the signposted turn-off between Lake Mapourika and Lake Wahapo.
You’ll find spacious, private car parking at our two red sheds on the left just as you enter the village, with a homely base building and bathrooms for comfort.
1, The Strand, Ōkārito, West Coast
+64 3 753 4014
Soak up this stunning natural environment. Hire a kayak to independently explore these ancient waterways at your own pace or let one of our experienced guides take you on an intimate tour through pristine wilderness.
Options available for all ages and any fitness level.