When the Monarch Butterfly NZ Trust wanted to give a gift of plants, locally sourced from Rarangi Beach, east of Blenheim, they came to Oratia. Not only could we provide an eco-sourced species, it was also a plant which had since disappeared from the region!
This is the Trust's story.
Last year we ran a contest in the forum on our website. We had 12 Buddleias to give away and we asked for nominations of people doing good things for butterflies and moths in NZ.
Among other nominations we were made aware of the work of the Rarangi Landcare Group, based at Tuamarina, Marlborough. Formed in 2000, the group has restored over 11,000 native foreshore plants and are protecting some very rare native insects such as the stone moth and Mat Daisy Jumper, both only found on the Rarangi foreshore.
When their name was drawn out of the hat for one of the Buddleias we knew they wouldn't want one [as it is an exotic species] so we contacted Oratia Native Plants in Auckland to ask if they might award a special prize of native plants.
The story doesn't end there!
DOC stipulated that they plants had to have been sourced in their area. It seemed like the plan was foiled, but surprise, surprise, it so happened Oratia was growing a rare grass, Trisetum antarcticum, the seed of which had been sourced at Rarangi - and the plant had since disappeared from the Rarangi foreshore! What an amazing way things work out.
DOC native plant expert Jan Clayton-Greene checked it out and confirmed that the plant's origins were Rarangi, so Oratia sent down all 35 plants before the 'Oratia rabbits enjoyed them'.
Planting has been accomplished with the help of Outward Bound students and volunteers.
Sid and Marge Mosdell (Picton) agreed to visit Rarangi and investigate and they spent a pleasant couple of hours in the company of Trudie Lasham (left, Newsletter Editor) and Christine Baker (Rarangi Landcare Co-ordinator), being shown the Landcare Group's efforts in rejuvenating and beautifying the Rarangi foreshore. They were impressed with what is being achieved.
Also pictured is one of the signboards on the foreshore which depicts the moths and butterflies that can be found there.
The group is thrilled with their prize - and so is the MBNZT.
"The grass was considered to be lost forever," said Sid. "T. antarcticum grows on the coast, in gravel, sand and on bluffs between Taranaki to the Marlborough region. It is densely tufted, a dull green to grey green in colour."
"It may not look very exciting, but it's very exciting for those involved in conservation."