South Auckland waging war on moth plant

Publish Date : 28 Jul 2022
Pest Free Urban South Moth Collection (1)

Walking down the streets of South Auckland, the moth plant can be seen spreading out to almost every other backyard. The infamous weed grows quickly posing a massive danger to our native plants.

Now, the local kids and community are stepping up the war on this out-of-control weed to help improve biodiversity and protect the native environment for future generations.

The Ōtara-Papatoetoe and Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board-funded Pest Free Urban South (PFUS) programme has been working to expand community actions to reduce pest plants and animals in the urban south environment.

At the heart of these actions has been the moth plant pod competition through which nearly 20 teams of schools and community groups from both local board areas took charge to remove this weed.

At a community drop-off event, the team collected more than 30,000 moth plants and pods participants had rooted out and PFUS Coordinator Pianina Kahui-McConnell could not be more delighted.

"When we posted about the competition, lots of people chipped in with the location of moth plants on their properties, so the teams collected a pretty good number of pods,” she says.

“This is a massive increase from the previous year when awareness around this weed wasn’t great and how damaging it can be for our biodiversity. But now people tell us they can identify it just by looking at the pods and know they should get rid of it.

“All of these pods will be hot composted preventing an estimated 3 million seeds from germinating. That is no small feat. But the efforts need to be ongoing, and everyone needs to do their part to help us get rid of this weed once and for all.”

When removing this weed from your backyard, remember to wear protective gloves and remove it from the roots along with any pods and vines. Put them in a secure plastic bag and send them to the landfill via your regular Council rubbish bins or through a community weed bin in your area.

To get involved or learn more about our pest-free efforts, activities and events in South Auckland, contact

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