Harakeke removal/relocation in Southland, new homes sought


Highways South, on behalf of Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, will be removing harakeke (New Zealand flax, Phormium tenax) from problematic areas across the Southland state highway network after Easter.

The Southland state highway network has large pockets of flax located within the road reserve, some of which are encroaching into drainage channels and concealing signs, edge markers and line marking, creating a potential safety hazard for road users and local communities. 

“Following on the success of the harakeke removal programme in 2021, where Highways South engaged with community and iwi and successfully removed and relocated harakeke, we are repeating this process again this year,” says Justin Reid, Maintenance Contract Manager for Waka Kotahi in Southland.

Harakeke removal on SH96, Wrey’s Bush:

Michael Sly, who farms at Orepuki, re-planting the harakeke on his farm:

Students from Myross Bush School digging in harakeke to their school grounds:

Highways South and Waka Kotahi appreciate that harakeke holds a special significance for many in Southland and has worked hard previously with Te Ao Marama to find a solution which recognises this.  Mature harakeke requiring removal will first be offered to local iwi for harvesting where this is safe to do so. 

Where possible, those mature plants which cannot be harvested safely by hand will be mechanically removed and relocated to properties to form shelterbelts or to restore and protect waterways. 

“There are two main areas where harakeke will be removed this year,” says Mr Reid. “SH99 near Te Waewae Bay and SH6 north of Centre Bush.”

  • Landowners keen to relocate some of these plants to their land can contact Highways South on 03 211 1561 or by email on SNOCadmin@southroads.co.nz