Health and Safety Guidelines

For the Henderson-Massey Moth Plant Competition 2024

The sap from moth plant vines is white, sticky and can be a skin irritant for some people. Wearing protective gear while taking part in this competition is key. Disposing of them correctly is also important, because if the pods split they can release up to a thousand seeds.

Keeping yourself safe

  1. Tell someone where you’re going, and make sure there are at least two people present when you are approaching landowners, or going out collecting moth plant pods and seedlings or cutting vines.
  2. While children are welcome to participate, those under 14 years old must be accompanied by supervising adults taking full responsibility for their health and safety.
    • We recommend an adult-to-child ratio of 1:1 for children five years old and under.
  3. For participants under 16, permission from a parent or legal guardian must be sought and granted to take part in this competition.
  4. If pods are located on private property, permission from the landowner must be sought and granted before any pods or vines are removed from their property.
  5. If you do not know how the owner is, knock on the front door and explain what you are doing – the Auckland Council moth plant flyer can help with this.
  6. Be aware of dogs and other potential dangers, and do not approach any property where you do not feel safe.
  7. Keep in mind when approaching landowners that they may not want you on their property, and be respectful.

Handling moth plant

  1. Gloves, a long-sleeved shirt, a mask and eye protection must be worn while removing and/or handling any pods as the sap can be an irritant. Care must be taken to ensure the sap does not come in contact with skin or eyes, and that seeds are not breathed in. Protect your clothes or wear old clothes as sap can ruin them.
  2. If skin contact occurs, cool compresses can help reduce immediate irritation. Seek medical advice by contacting your doctor, local medical clinic or call Healthline on 0800 611 116 (this free service is available any day, any time).
  3. Take a rubbish sack along to gather pods and small vines in, so the pods are contained and don’t spread seeds further. Need a black sack? Email [email protected].
  4. Be aware that pods can split open easily. Remove pods carefully, to try to avoid splitting them open.
  5. Only attempt to remove pods that can easily be reached from standing at ground level.
  6. Trace the vines back to the ground and pull out small vines with their roots, or cut thick vines near the base. You can loosen the soil around the vine with a trowel.
  7. If used, herbicide gel must only be handled by an adult in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  8. Uprooted vines can be left onsite to die – only pods need to be removed and disposed of carefully.
  9. After photographing your pods and roots, they must be bagged and disposed of in landfill bins or at drop-off days to prevent further spread. Please note that they cannot be easily composted without spreading further.


  1. For larger infestations, please leave an Auckland Council moth plant flyer for the landowner.
  2. After cutting, moth plants wither quickly, making it easy to see if any plants have been missed if you revisit the site after 24 hours. You can then deal with any pods or vines that remain onsite.
  3. If you’re unable to remove the vine by the roots and do not want to handle herbicide, cut vines near the ground leaving approximately 10cm showing, and email the team at S.T.A.M.P. at [email protected] so that someone else can ensure it does not regrow.