Case study - Many hands needed to control wild kiwifruit
The ten-year collaboration between the Regional Council and New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc. (NZKGI) has led to a significant reduction in wild kiwifruit in the Bay of Plenty. With the emergence of kiwifruit vine disease Psa (Pseudomonas syringae pv. Actinidiae) in the region, control of wild kiwifruit that may host the disease is even more important.
The Regional Council identifies wild kiwifruit populations and monitors control work, while NZKGI contributes funding from its members towards this work.
Wild kiwifruit is listed as a ‘Containment Pest’ in the Regional Pest Management Plan, which means landowners responsible for the pest, are also responsible for its control.
Wild kiwifruit is spread predominantly by birds, rats and possums that have eaten waste fruit and transported many tiny seeds in their droppings, often across many kilometres. If left uncontrolled, wild kiwifruit forms a mound of tangled stems that can grow up and over trees, smothering and killing them. Without active control, areas of native bush would eventually disappear under a blanket of kiwifruit.
The great news is that some 25,000 wild kiwifruit vines have been destroyed in the Bay of Plenty. Large wild vines have been almost entirely eliminated and the number of smaller vines is declining every year.
The Regional Council also supports the Waste to Gold initiative led by Scion Research, Zespri International Ltd and NZKGI, which converts waste kiwifruit into bio-plastic, helping reduce the 50,000 tonnes of waste kiwifruit otherwise left in the environment.