6. Gorse

Gorse is a prickly, fast-growing shrub with bright yellow coconut-scented flowers. It’s native to Atlantic-facing parts of Europe, and was introduced to New Zealand by British settlers in the 19th century. (Photo by Harry Cooke from Pexels.)

a. We’re going to listen to a longer segment of the video, in which Hugh, Tricia, and a local farmer speak about this non-native plant. What is the significance of gorse in the Hinewai story?

b. Listen again from 14:06 to 15:22. Which three of these are true of gorse, according to Hugh?

  • It can be counterproductive to try to destroy gorse.
  • Gorse is helpful in some ways to the agricultural industry.
  • Gorse lowers the level of nitrogen-based chemicals in the soil.
  • Gorse grows very well in places where there are no other competing plants.
  • Gorse encourages young native plants by providing a sheltering layer of vegetation.

Answers are here.

c. Can you reconstruct these sentences (as heard in the clip) using the words in bold?

        worth looking at                           I initially thought
        a sceptic of                                       let alone me

(i)   When I first heard of the fact that Hugh and the trust were going to use gorse to help regenerate the natives, I was _________ it.

(ii)  Gorse is a terrible, terrible weed for pastoral farming; it’s shocking, and no-one, _________, would deny that.

(iii) If you’ve got it, and it’s sort of infested the landscape irretrievably, in a way, it’s _________ its good points.

(iv)  _________ that the progression from gorse to native trees would take 50 years, but in ten years, you can see it.

Click here for answers and a further vocabulary exercise.

Present: Prepare a 2-to-3-minute anecdote about a time when someone – it might have been you – was initially sceptical of an idea which later turned out to be a success.

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