Volunteers help with weeding

A change in attitude by dairy farmers towards waterway conservation has been met with enthusiasm by young people who are volunteering their labour.

Volunteers got together to weed a riparian planting at Dave Stewart's Hiwinui farm yesterday.

There were 10 people, organised by the Conservation Volunteers New Zealand, an Auckland group.

Team leader John Busson said there had been a huge change in dairy farmers' attitudes towards waterway conservation and young people wanted to help.

"The majority of volunteers are from Europe, but we get some from Asia as well. They are concerned about worldwide issues, such as global warming and water quality, and want to help."

Mr Stewart said the 4-year-old plantings which included pittosporums, flaxes, totara and akeake, were being over-run by weeds.

"The worst ones are convolvulus and blackberry. I can weed here for an hour and get around 10 trees. This way there is people power. Ten people weed around a lot."

German student Katharina Talanow said she was volunteering with a friend.

"We wanted to do something with our holidays. We are both into nature and found this on the internet.

"We have worked in Auckland, Waikato and now we are in Manawatu for two weeks."

Mr Busson said they were helping at Mr Stewart's, had already been to Bushy Park near Whanganui and were planning to weed on the Conservation Department's land in Pohangina Valley.

Manawatu Standard