Invasive plant focus of attention on island

Tuesday May 26, 2015 Written by Release / Sarah Wilson Published in Outer Islands
The invasive beach burr species on Pukapuka will be targeted by agriculture and environment officials this week. The invasive beach burr species on Pukapuka will be targeted by agriculture and environment officials this week.

The National Environment Service is declaring war on the invasive beach burr plant on Pukapuka.

NES, along with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Arorangi Boys Brigade arrived on the remote northern island yesterday to formulate a plan of attack.

Their trip was managed under the National Environment Services’ Invasive Alien Species Project and coordinated by Senior Environment Officer, Elizabeth Munroe. 

The team includes NES GIS Officer, Olag Rasmussen, Media and Outreach Officer, Moana Vaevae-Tetauru, Mauke NES office Basilio Kaokao, Moe Tutira from the Ministry of Agriculture and Daniel Apii of the Arorangi Boys Brigade. 

On Pukapuka, the team will hold discussions with the island council as well as conducting an invasive species workshop to map, control and manage all beach burr sites.

The team will also visit all motu and Raui areas to carry out education and awareness programmes. 

Agirculture’s Moe Tutira will educate local residents on the invasive species eradication programmes being carried out on their island.

Tutira will also present his findings on invasive alien species from neighbouring Pacific islands such as Pago Pago.

Daniel Apii will share his experiences on the successful cuscutta or tiea eradication programme.

Before returning to Rarotonga on Friday, the team will also meet with the community and conduct school visits. 

The effort to rid the island of the pest plant follows the release of rust fungus-infected mile a minute plants on Rarotonga to combat the extremely invasive vine which has covered bush, trees and even plantations on the island. 

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