Gorse Clearing, Ōrongorongo Riverbed EM, M and MF
28 April 2021
‘Gorse clearing, Ōrongorongo River’ it said in the Tramper. A pretty formidable proposition, you’d think, but the leader’s email reduced it to “a small patch of gorse between Big Bend and Goat Stream”. That must have sounded more manageable, for a wonderful 25 people enlisted. DOC supplied tubes of poison gel for smearing over cut stumps, and people brought their own tools. I thought bow saws would be the tool of choice – they are for track clearing in Pigeon Bush – but you can’t easily get into the base of a gorse bush with a bow saw, even after preliminary clearing with loppers. The best tool proved to be a pruning saw fitted with a long handle.
The party arrived on site soon after ten o’clock, weather was calm and mild, and following morning tea, and a slice of cake intended to encourage, we attacked the patch at the Big Bend end. With so many people, we were able to drag cut branches well into the dark shadow of the bush and so avoid having them blow about the open riverbed shedding their seed pods. Three extraordinarily large mountains of gorse resulted.
By lunch time it was clear that there was more to the ‘small patch’ than anyone had reckoned on, and as cutters neared the older gorse growing closer to the source of the infestation at the mouth of Goat Stream it was doubted if the job could be finished. But finished it was, and after three or four hours of solid work, everyone was back at the car park shortly after four o’clock.
Bushes that were missed can be dealt to next spring when they reveal themselves by flowering. Gorse seed however can wait years before germinating, so annual inspection and pulling of seedlings will be needed in the years to come.
- Party members
- Joan Basher, Helen Beaglehole, Lois Buckrell, Robin Chesterfield, Colin Cook, Ken Fraser, John Hill, Leonore Hoke, Mary Kane, Carol Kelly, Justin Kerr, Howard Larsen, Cheryl McDonald, Lindsay Macdonald, David Ogilvie, Diane Morgan, Marilyn Richards, Penny Salmond, Alison Stephenson, Bill Stephenson, Heidi Thomson, John Thomson (leader and scribe), Bill Wheeler, Christine Whiteford, Rosemary Wilson. (Photos by David Ogilvie).