Tekapo Lupins

Field of colourful lupins at sunset, taken near Lake Tekapo in New Zealand. Photography by Laurie Winter

The most beautiful weeds. During late spring and early summer, the Russell Lupin flowers prolifically in the Mackenzie and Otago areas of the South Island. They are undoubtedly a sight to behold, but sadly they are not native to New Zealand, and so they impact the environment in detrimental ways. The biggest issue is their love of growing in waterways, where they take over riverbeds, the natural home of several bird species that are pushed out by this invasive plant. However, they are a tourism drawcard and many people come to the region, particularly Tekapo, to walk amongst and photograph the flowers. Increased efforts are being made to control these plants, which means they may not appear as extensively in the future. 

The weekend before we went down south to photograph the lupins, a huge storm came through the Mackenzie region, raising the lake levels significantly, and drowning most of the lupins on the Tekapo lake front. We were pretty disappointed, given so many of our plans revolved around that area. However, all was not lost as we found some amazing fields of lupins a little way out of town, and we were treated to several beautiful sunrises and sunsets. It's a shame the lupins are such pest plants, as they certainly are quite beautiful!

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