Who exactly is trespassing? And all these vines and lianes!

Protestor poster arguing the injustice of trespassing Maori from their own lands whilst developers maim and slowly murder a sacred species…

So, IT’S LOCKDOWN AGAIN!! I will forgive the lack of applause. Delta has reached our shores in spite of rigorous sanitizing, as we knew deep down it would. We forgo our normal daily lives in hopes of keeping hospitals clear for as long as possible to maximize the positive recoveries and decrease the chances of death. It has worked well so far with the vaccines being rolled out to frontline individuals and the sickest and most at risk first. All people great and small are encouraged to eat immune strengthening foods and to fortify themselves. Many Lockdown community initiatives are taking hold again, it’s pleasing to see so many minds exercising their time wisely and innovatively to benefit neighbors and community members.

‘He hono tangata e kore e motu; ka pa he taura waka e motu’

Canoe ropes can be broken, but not the bonds of people

I rolled into lockdown already halfway down the cliff, literally, whilst going bush for a few weeks on an invasive weed removal adventure, heightened by the true outback style of NZ when my cars electric fan switch burnt out and the battery lost its grip on the reality of the moment and discharged itself somewhere amongst the myriad of high performance wires and custom gadgets fitted to the engine. Of course I had the wrong tools for the job and the mechanic 20km away was no where to be seen… Utilizing mail order, I garnered supplies, some snacks, went back to my cliff face and removed the weeds in the area prepared last year with the same purposeful, vigorous damage to invasive weed species. The soil was beautiful here, the chop and drop method and the complete removal of only foreign hardy vining vegetation to prevent its regrowth, was well worth the effort of gathering to make stacks of composting materials along the cliff side and flatter areas. Myriads of tiny native species, flowers, an endangered tomentum daisy, seedlings and grasses have sprung up to replace the weeds. Established trees with thick barks now harbor an artists palette of mosses, lichens and baby wood ears huddled together like an expensive designer camouflage. Trees and saplings previously strangled or smothered by foreign wiry vines have grown and flourished since being released last year. Where the blanketing foreign Pampas has been removed, giant sedges, grasses, a native carrot and unique reeds and rushes have returned along with an ever changing hoard of fungal bodies and precious surprises https://www.inaturalist.org/check_lists/43221-Auckland-Check-List

And so as I weed out one native forest ancestor from another foreign one, sending karakia to whoever may hear them, I am again reminded of the bond between myself and this particular piece of earth that seems to give and breathe so easily for me. I am on the careful lookout for the forest gecko, kaka and his bird friends, as I pull what seems like an endless supply of asparagus weed, gorse and moth plant vine from the clearings. At the top of a rise, amongst the saplings and Nikau is a mighty and ancient native vine, the ropes thicker than two fingers and the root of which resembles a tree. He is the second oldest native vine nearby, and joins the likes of a thousand year old Pohutukawa, hundreds of years old Rata, and silver Astelia that have been growing in the clouds amongst the tree tops dropping their wayward children to the forest floor for centuries. He is not long from breaking his first flower bud and adorning the hair of Tane’s tallest children. Forest icing sugar – Clematis | Te Papa’s Blog

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