Record-breaking moth plant results

The record-breaking results are in for east Auckland’s finest moth pod hunting competition.

Students, teachers and parents from a variety of Howick Ward schools attended the Moth Plant Competition prize-giving at Farm Cove Intermediate Hall on June 1.

The competition centres around students, either individually or in teams, becoming moth plant crusaders. It is run by Pest Free Howick.

Described as “pretty but deadly”, moth plants are an invasive pet plant which grow and smother native vegetation, which makes it all the more important to keep their pods of 250-1000 parachute-like seeds from spreading.

This year 29 schools from the Eastern Enviroschools cluster battled it out for the $4000 prize pool, which was split into four categories: preschool, primary, intermediate and secondary. First place won $500, 2nd $300 and 3rd $150.

In 2021, around 55,000 pods were collected. A year later this record was shattered with a 89,738 pods and small vines being collected.

The winner of the preschool category was KiNZ Kaitiaki from KiNZ Mission Heights with 5122 pods and small vines. Team SJSJ Moth Plant Killers of Farm Code Intermediate took gold in the intermediate category with 7552 pods and small vines. For secondary schools,

Team Mothzilla of Botany Downs Secondary College snatched first place with 4105 pods.

Team Pakuranga Heights POD Squad of Pakuranga Heights Primary triumphed with a stunning 15,268 pods and small vines, becoming record-breakers and the overall winners of the competition.

Two special categories – most small vines by roots and thickest vines – were won by Macleans Evergreen Enviro Team and Pakuranga Heights POD Squad, respectively.