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Biosecurity simply refers to keeping unwanted pests and weeds out of our own local environments.

Individuals have an important role to play as international travellers, boat and pet owners, and as gardeners.

The home garden is one of the greatest sources of weed infestation in New Zealand. It is from our gardens that all kinds of introduced weed species have become established and spread out into the countryside.

The need to be a responsible gardener is particularly acute for people who live near to areas of native vegetation and conservation areas.

The most basic decision we can make is to establish a garden that makes extensive use of our own native species. Using those species that grow locally ensures total biosecurity. It has other advantages as well – plants adapted to local conditions will reduce the need for watering, pest control and all the other intensive care procedures we take to nurture those plants that are out of place in our garden.

Even in a garden that makes use of a range of exotic plant species, there are basic measures to take:

  • Eradicate weed sources from your garden. Contact your local regional council or the Department of Conservation ( to get information on what plants are regarded as weeds locally.
  • Ensure garden plant purchases are of non-weedy varieties. Reputable garden centres should not stock such plants. However, flea markets and school fairs are one of the easiest places to buy unwanted weeds – that little seedling you buy for a dollar at the school fair may turn out to be something that quickly spreads and takes over half your neighbourhood!

Away from the home garden, biosecurity is to be protected by:

  • Clean weeds off your boat when transferring it to a new body of water, or when sailing to another area. especially if you are going near a national park or other pristine areas.
  • Co-operate with airport biosecurity requirements, such as not importing fresh food, animal or plant materials.

Further information:

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