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From RNZ Country Life, 8 July 2022

RNZ Country Life – GorseBusters

Volunteer GorseBusting work


This April, volunteers from all over Aotearoa headed to South Westland to clear gorse from the shores of the stunning Ōkārito Lagoon.

The event was dubbed ‘Gorsebusters 2’ after the success of the first Ōkārito GorseBusters event last year.

Barry Hughes organised the event with his partner Gemma Van Beek.

“It’s an incredibly convoluted series of bays and river deltas that you’re working into. Last year we worked on about 19 kilometres and some are literally unrecognisable to what they were before,” he said.

The work is certainly not for people who want to keep dry, according to returning Nelson volunteer Mo Killip.

“Last year I was over in tidal creek and cemetery creek and you could see where the edge was so it was a lot easier, but this year we were up at the delta and that was hard yakka, it was totally wet and you were in the reed bed in a swamp with the gorse,” she said.

Barry, who also runs Okārito Kayaks, says the Gorsebusters event has been a huge success.

“We’ve got about 80 people a day for six days working around the lagoon cutting gorse and looking after the place.”

The volunteers are well-looked after. They are given accommodation in the township and fed three times a day.

Gemma Van Beek is managing the busy cooking schedule. She was in the makeshift kitchen when Country Life turned up.

A lot of the food she cooks has been donated by local farmers and hunters.

“We’ve got 10 slow cookers on the go at the moment and we’re having Andalusian meat tonight with lamb and venison because that’s just what we’ve got!”

Eve Pommeroy is a rookie gorsebuster.

“We only heard about it a couple of weeks ago so we jumped on last minute and at this rate, based on the food alone, I think we’ll come back again!”.

Barry says he’s been overwhelmed by the volunteers’ enthusiasm and the support from the local community.

“It’s not even possible to put into words how proud we are. It just goes back to the simplicity of the Kiwi working bee and just going out and helping your mates”.


See the original article, video and audio here: here

Volunteer work GorseBusters

What else is happening?

From Newsroom, 10th April 2022

Newsroom GorseBusters of Ōkārito Lagoon

The phenomenal work ethic of a volunteer army has the gorse scourge at a West Coast beauty spot in retreat>