NZ: Traffic-stopping sunflower field in Tararua a sight to behold

A field blooming with thousands of sunflowers, intended to subdue speeding motorists, appears to be having the desired effect. The striking sight even has travellers pulling off the country road to pose and take photos with the radiant backdrop.

Abbe​ Hoare planted 47,000 sunflower seeds in a half-hectare block near the roadside of her farm at Mangamaire, south of Pahīatua. The sunflowers started flowering about 10 days ago and now the field is filled with bright yellow heads all facing east, which are expected to last until the end of February.

The farm is on the busy Tutaekara Rd, which is a turn-off from the Pahīatua Track on the way to Wairarapa. Hoare said she wanted to slow drivers down because they often treated the road like race track and barely noticed the level crossing. She hoped the mass of yellow petals was a safe way to catch travellers’ attention.

“I wanted to slow the traffic down. No-one ever stops at this railway crossing. This is meant to be 70kmh but no-one ever goes 70kmh.” Hoare and her partner, who works as a fencing contractor, have a 90-hectare sheep and beef farm, with chicory and plantain crops planted for feeding lambs in some area. But she had been on the hunt for something to diversify and sunflowers appealed to her. After such success in a short amount of time, she is considering planting more next summer.

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