Thank you very MOTH! Pest Free moth plant competition winners announced

Publish Date : 17 Jun 2024
HOW PFH Winners
Image source: Otara Waterways and Lake Trust.

The results are in, and they surpass that of 2023!

Enthusiastic students and community groups in the Howick Local Board area competed in the annual Moth Plant Pod Competition 2024, to help protect and restore the natural environment and stand a chance to win an awesome prize.

The competition ran from February until mid-May and had two categories, preschool and open (primary, intermediate, and secondary schools combined).

Board chair Damian Light says, “Every year we’re blown away by the incredible results from this competition. The Howick Local Board is proud to support Pest Free Howick Ward who deliver this award-winning competition with local early childhood centres and schools.”

Total tally for 2024

Thanks to all the teams, kaiako (teachers) and parents who took part in this year’s competition, a total of 68,548 pods and 59,559 small vines collected, with an approximate total of 2,132,584,600 seeds that will not germinate in the future.

Light adds, “Moth Plant is an invasive weed that spreads very quickly, killing native plants which also reduces food sources for birds and other wildlife. This year we saw a massive increase in the number of seedlings removed which is fantastic and shows that previous efforts have had a lasting impact.”

Results and Winners

Top Preschool

First place: Cascades Kindergarten with 4,438 pods and small wines ($500)/

  • 2nd Place: KiNZ Mission Heights with 3,233 pods and small vines ($300)

  • 3rd Place: New Shoots Kaitiaki of Papatūānuku with 728 pods and vines ($150).

Top Team in Open Category & Top Primary School:

1st Place: Pakuranga Heights Pod Squad with a whopping 35,811 pods and small vines.

  • 2nd Place: HPS Moth Busters with 21,967 pods and small vines (Howick Primary) ($400)

  • 3rd Place: Bye Bye Moth Plants with 10,086 pods and small vines (Somerville Intermediate School) ($300)

  • 4th Place: High Altitude Pickers with 9,482 pods and small vines (Howick College) ($200)

  • 5th Place: Mothzilla 3.0 with 6,688 pods and small vines (BDSC) ($100)

  • 6th Place: Ocean with 3,936 pods and small vines (Somerville Intermediate) ($50)

  • 7th Place: Boy3 with 3,539 pods and small vines (Howick College) ($50)

  • 8th Place: Fred Freddy Freddrick with 3,270 pods and small vines (BDSC) ($50)

  • 9th Place: M&M with 3,154 pods and small vines (BDSC)

  • 10th Place: Bree Toatelegese with 2,962 pods and small vines (Saint Kentigern College).

Special Awards

  • Overall School Winner: Pakuranga Heights School ($500)

  • Thickest Vine - 11cm: Pakuranga Heights Pod Squad ($150)

  • Most Small Vines by the Root - 19,961: Pakuranga Heights Pod Squad ($150)

  • Top Primary School Team: Pakuranga Heights Pod Squad ($500)

  • Top Intermediate Team: Bye Bye Moth Plants ($500)

  • Top High School Team: High Altitude Pickers ($500)

  • Special Prize for best new team: Ocean ($50)

  • Special Prize for their creative anonymous community hotline: Pakuranga Heights Pod Squad ($50)

Light concludes, “Thank you very MOTH to everyone who took part in our annual event. Special commendations to Pakuranga Heights Pod Squad who were incredible this year and walked away with $1,350.00, and to our amazing Pest Free Howick ward team for their continued success in delivering outstanding environmental and climate action initiatives! Their dedication and hard work are truly commendable and are making a positive impact in our community and the planet.”

“Also thank you Howick College who hosted the celebration – it was wonderful to hear about all the student led initiatives they have underway including tree plantings, school garden, and waste minimisation.”


If students are looking for ways to continue the mahi with their moth podding team, they are invited to join the Pest Free Howick team at the Pestival on the 25th of June at Mission Heights Junior College, 103 Jeffs Road, Flat Bush.

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