Tree poisoning work for island

JARED NICOLL
Last updated 06:27 22/05/2012
wilding
Pine poison: Andrew Macalister, left, drills holes into wilding pines trunks so that Andrew McMahon can fill them with herbicide. Wilding pines on Arapawa Island will be targeted in September.

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Contractors will begin to kill all the wilding pine trees on an "iconic" point of Arapawa Island, says the project co-ordinator.

The Marlborough Sounds Restoration Trust has been granted funding to poison wilding pine trees over 204 hectares at Ruaomoko Point, south-eastern Arapawa Island in Queen Charlotte Sound, for one month around September.

Contractors will drill holes in the trees and inject herbicide, which will quickly spread through them during their spring growth.

The Canterbury Community Trust provided $20,000, at the end of April, towards the work, which will take place to allow the natural regeneration of native trees such as manuka and kanuka to continue uninhibited on the island.

Restoration Trust project co-ordinator Andrew Macalister said the pines had to be poisoned to avoid smashing native trees.

"They will break down over time with wind and insects, whereas if you felled them you would knock out huge amounts of regeneration.

"The island is going through the whole cycle, from native bush to bare farmland and back again."

Interislander sponsored the work because the area was an "iconic" point, visible from the ferries, he said.

The trust would not have to pay for accommodation for the contractors and this helped to keep costs down.

"In four years of working around the Sounds we have not paid for any accommodation.

"Land owners are very generous with their baches and it saves us a lot of money."

The trust also planned to carry out wilding pine poisoning around Kenepuru Sound and D'Urville Island.

Interislander marketing manager Gavin Rutherford said the company relied on the area for its business so it made sense to support it.

"Our ships sail past Arapawa Island up to 11 times a day," Mr Rutherford said. "It is important for us to ensure we protect the environment we operate in."

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