But­ter­fly treat packs a sting

Central Leader - - News - By Lisa Har­ri­son

Sting­ing net­tle is most of­ten seen as a threat to hu­mans and an­i­mals.

But for the ad­mi­ral but­ter­fly, it holds the key to sur­vival.

The rare crea­ture thrives in a habi­tat of na­tive sting­ing net­tle.

But as the plant gets treated as a weed and re­moved, the but­ter­flies are be­com­ing ex­tinct.

Now a group of Mt Eden vol­un­teers want to change that.

In hon­our of Love Your Moun­tain Day on De­cem­ber 7, mem­bers of the Friends of Maun­gawhau are plant­ing na­tive sting­ing net­tle on Mt Eden to pro­vide a habi­tat for the but­ter­fly.

They will also have a stand at the event to give the pub­lic more in­for­ma­tion about the but­ter­fly and how to be safe around sting­ing net­tle.

Friends of Maun­gawhau chair­man Kit How­den says it’s im­por­tant for peo­ple to recog­nise their role in pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment.

“The Friends of Maun­gawhau are do­ing our part to bring back bio­di­ver­sity into the city as well as pro­tect the cul­tural her­itage of Maun­gawhau and other vol­canic cones,” he says.

“Cities now have an in­creas­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity to pro­tect bio­di­ver­sity as part of the eco­log­i­cal cri­sis the planet faces.”

Love Your Moun­tain Day is or­gan­ised by the Friends of Maun­gawhau to cel­e­brate Mt Eden’s cul­tural and ar­chae­o­log­i­cal her­itage.

Through­out the day peo­ple will be able to take guided tours around the moun­tain, in­clud­ing Eden Gar­dens and Gov­ern­ment House, which is not nor­mally open to the pub­lic.

The old Lang­tons Kiosk will also have dis­plays about the ar­chae­ol­ogy of the moun­tain along with fu­ture plans for the vol­canic cones and in­for­ma­tion about the ad­mi­ral but­ter­fly and the sting­ing net­tle project.

Friends of Maun­gawhau have joined forces with Ora­tia Na­tive Plants to ac­tively plant the na­tive species of sting­ing net­tle.

Mr How­den says the net­tle will only be planted in re­mote steep slopes out of pub­lic use ar­eas.

But it is im­por­tant for peo­ple to be care­ful when walk­ing on the moun­tain.

“We have been in con­tact with the Auck­land City Coun­cil to or­gan­ise warn­ing signs, but in the in­terim we want to get the mes­sage out to walk­ers so that they keep their dogs away from th­ese ar­eas,” he says.

Love Your Moun­tain Day or­gan­iser Karen Jane says the day is a great com­mu­nity event.

“It is about mak­ing the moun­tain ac­ces­si­ble to eve- ry­one while cel­e­brat­ing our cul­tural and ar­chae­o­log­i­cal her­itage,” she says.

Love Your Moun­tain Day will run from 9.30am to 4pm on De­cem­ber 7.

No buses or cars will have ac­cess to the moun­tain, al­low­ing peo­ple to ex­plore.

Vol­un­teers are needed to host guided tours and help out on the day.

For more in­for­ma­tion phone Kit on 630-1490.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Tak­ing care: Love Your Moun­tain day or­gan­is­ers Ian Fish, left, and Kit How­den, plant sting­ing net­tle on Mt Eden to cre­ate a habi­tat for the ad­mi­ral but­ter­fly.

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