So serious was the issue by the 1920s, that noxious weeds (including gorse and blackberry) were a hot topic at a Farmers Union Conference in Feilding in 1928. As one concerned delegate somewhat facetiously put it: “Unless the blackberry pest is taken in hand seriously by the Government the main exports from New Zealand in years to come will be blackberry jam and farmers”.
The delegates to the conference urged that, where appropriate, the government appoint rabbit board inspectors as inspectors under the Noxious Weeds Act (enacted in 1900) and to subsidise rabbit boards for services rendered. This proposal appears to reflect the fact that farmers had more confidence in the capacity of rabbit boards to deal with such issues than they did in county councils.
Photo: A family having lunch by the roadside while out picking blackberries in Northland. A young boy is standing beside the car drinking from a bottle. Photographed by Robert E Wells in March or April 1947. Not to be reproduced without permission from Alexander Turnbull Library, ref. ID: 1/4-091186-F
Sources: Evening Post, 1 June 1928; Bob Brockie. ‘Weeds of the bush – Vines and scramblers’, Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand; “Only one blackberry bush”, NZ Truth, 14 June 1924.