Butterfly Conference

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  • #13336


    Mary Parkinson and I are making plans for our conference, to be held at Easter (April) in Tauranga. While Mary is hard at work on the "local" stuff (she lives in Tauranga), right now I’ve been confirming speakers, and wooo-hoooo I think this conference is going to be ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC.

    The workshop on butterfly photography will be a highlight for me. As will planning a butterfly garden, and then there’s going to be seeing what they’ve done specially for the conference at Te Puna Quarry Park Garden.

    "Wildflower World" (www.wildflower.co.nz) sells wildflower seeds, and they have designed a garden of wildflowers at Te Puna. Now Te Puna is very steep, built on a hillside, with marvellous views of the whole Bay of Plenty – so it will be fantastic to stand above the wildflower garden and look down on the wildflowers, and to see the butterfly activity around them.

    And the light trapping on Saturday night: There are 1,500 moths in NZ, and many more that have never been identified. Wouldn’t it be FUN if we were to discover a new species of moth?

    But there’s so much more. Barrie Frost, who studies animal navigation (Queen’s University, Ontario) has been studying the Monarch’s migration to/from Mexico, and we will be revealing what has been learned from tagging Monarchs here in NZ… George Gibbs will be talking about NZ’s butterflies and moths… And it will all be in SIMPLE ENGLISH. I’m going to PENALISE any of them if they start using long words like disambiguation… what does that mean anyway?

    More info. on the conference here:


    More info. on Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty here:


    Roll on April!

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  • #19478


    Hi all

    I have just upgraded the Conference material as we have yet another fantastic speaker confirmed.

    Yesterday I was talking to Kay Baxter of Koanga Gardens about a presentation on seed saving. You know, when you go to a garden centre to buy plants, some of them that you buy and are sure are going to please their butterflies… you get them growing and no butterflies come to visit. Their nectar value is SO LOW, and it’s very disappointing.

    Well, at the conference it’s planned to have a workshop on seed saving, as well as taking cuttings so you can get a new garden for FREE! That will be so awesome.

    Anyway, do take a look:




    Mary, I am so excited about the wonderful display of Wildflower World’s. I don’t think I can wait until April to see it! I love wildflowers.

    I disagree with you about removing excess eggs. I would prefer to let the tiny caterpillars hatch out, and then move them onto an alternative source of food, like Araujia sericifera. But then… I guess this might be creating more of a problem next year, if there’s twice or three times the amount of Monarchs around and not enough food…

    I think you’re doing a fantastic job with organising this conference, Mary. It’s going to be a great weekend.




    The Conference seems so far away but there is so much to happen before then.
    An early planting of wild flowers are doing well after the last rain, Wildflower world will be over sowing in the next few weeks.
    There are butterflies every where now which means more swan plants needed! keeping up with nature is a full on exercise nothing stays the same so keep planting swan plant seed and the plants and if you are in a cold area find a place where you can protect the plants through the winter, swan plants can last 2 or 3 years so you need to be replanting and keeping caterpillars off the plants untill they get to a metre high at least and take off excess eggs and cover with net or shade cloth to keep off wasps and egg laying butterflies.
    There is so much to learn about butterflies so try and get to the Conference with all your questions and ideas and share an interesting weekend

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