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Native plant partnership for Northland state highway corridor wins award

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A partnership to increase the use of native plant species on Northland’s state highway corridors has won a Special Award from the NZ Plant Conservation Network (NZPCN).

The NZ Transport Agency is proud to have been recognised for the outstanding contribution made towards native plant conservation on the Whangarei State Highway Gateway Project.

The work alongside Downers, Opus, the Northland community, the Northland Regional Council and Whangarei District Council has focused on using threatened and uncommon Northland plants. Treescape undertook the physical works and Tawapou Native Nursery were the leading plant supplier.

The NZ Transport Agency’s Network Performance Manager, Tim Crow, says in 2014 the Transport Agency embarked on a program to address the large number of pest plants that were creating ecological, stormwater, safety and visual problems at the Whangarei entrances to State Highway One.

“We instigated the use of mass plantings of inland and coastal native rare and endangered species to create self-sustaining green spaces that are both functional and have ecological benefits.”

In making the award the NZ Plant Conservation Network said the use of rare plants, such as Coprosma neglecta, Metrosideros carminea, Pittosporum obcordatum, Planchonella costata, and Tecomanthe speciosa, is fantastic, as it will have made a major contribution towards raising the profile of these lesser-known species and ensuring they are more widely planted.

The Transport Agency’s Tim Crow says the highway road reserve has been designed to enhance biodiversity, reduce and suppress pest plants, minimise erosion and reduce tagging and vandalism.”

One plant in particular, Tecomanthe speciosa, has proved very valuable at reducing the amount of graffiti and vandalism along fencelines between Transport Agency land and homes. The species was planted at regular intervals and is now an excellent crime deterrent as well as showcasing a special Northland plant.

“Our state highways are highly visible locations and it’s great to be able to promote plant conservation in areas that so many people use and every day.”

“This is just the start, of our work in this area, we are continuing to team up with our partners and the community for other projects across Northland, including improvements to road reserves and cycleway at SH1 Kamo.”

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