Russell lupins (Lupinus polyphyllus) cover large swathes of the McKenzie country in an astonishing array of colours, so it’s not surprising that tourists absolutely love them. Sadly though, the non-native Russell lupin is highly invasive in New Zealand, and has major negative impacts on our native wildlife and ecosystems. It’s a classic example of how difficult it can be balancing economic and ecological interests.

My lovely husband Colin helped me to collect these flowers while we were on a road trip around the South Island. I made the picture the day we arrived in Kaikoura, poking the flowers into a frypan from our motel room filled with sand from the nearby beach. Colin helpfully suggested that the final picture reminded him of his nana’s bathmat. Thanks darl, that’s exactly the look I was going for…

Poking the flowers into a sand-filled frypan from our Kaikoura motel
Tourists lovin’ the lupins (photo from

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