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Dunedin resident clashing with neighbours after wild 'berm meadow' mowed without consent

An uncut grass verge is causing problems in Dunedin after one resident stopped cutting her berm, letting it grow wild.

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Stephanie Haworth stopped mowing her berm for environmental reasons. Source: 1 NEWS

“I am unusual for this very straight line, upper middle class, white, heterosexual street,” resident Stephanie Haworth said.

Haworth put her mower away two years ago for environmental reasons.

“I don't really like mowing the lawns - it's noise pollution, it’s burning fossil fuels,” she explained.

Now, she’s reaping the rewards of her “no mow” stance, with bees returning to her property.

Auckland University ecologist Associate Professor Bruce Burns applauded Haworth’s unpopular position, saying an unmown lawn helps create biodiversity.

“I applaud her for trying something different with her verges,” Burns said.

“I think it's almost like the 11th commandment ‘thou shalt mow your lawns,’ but there are a number of costs with moving lawns - both environmental and financial.”

The move hasn’t gone down well with her disgruntled neighbours, who took matters into their own hands.

On two separate occasions - the first incident occurring last year - Haworth has come outside to see her berms have been mowed.

“I came out a couple of days ago and saw that the berm had been mowed. I was really, really upset,” she said.

Haworth has since contacted the police.

“I made a little sign out of recycled cardboard, hand-printed, and said ‘reward offered for information as to who came and mowed my berm meadow uninvited,’ and that created a few sniggers around the neighbourhood.”

Council rules simply state the nearest property owner is responsible for maintaining the grass in front of their home.
Now, Haworth is calling for clearer direction.

“We can't go to war with each other because we all want to manage our pieces of berm in a different way.”

1 NEWS approached Howarth’s neighbours, who did not wish to comment on the issue.