What is kauri dieback?
Kauri dieback is a soil-borne, fungus-like organism that lives within the soil and feeds on the roots of kauri trees. There is currently no proven cure, and nearly all infected trees die.
How is the disease spread?
- It only takes a pinhead of infected soil to spread the disease.
- The disease is easily spread through soil movements.
- Human traffic is the number one way that kauri dieback is spread e.g. when someone walks through mud or dead infected small feeding roots of kauri containing spores and carries the contaminated mud on their footwear to another kauri area.
- Cleaning footwear and gear and staying on the track is the best way to contain the disease and save these forest giants for future generations.
What do the hygiene stations do?
- The hygiene stations help prevent the spread of the disease, by removing all soil from people's shoes.
- They are designed to ensure that even very muddy shoes can be cleaned.
- Apart from the brushes fixed in to the base of the hygiene station, there is a secondary brush and a spruce, like that used by farriers, to help people clean soil from shoes and equipment like walking poles.
How do I use the hygiene station?
- Signs installed on the hygiene stations provide the four-step instructions for use:
- Use the brushes to remove all soil and mud from your shoes.
- Examine your shoes to ensure that all soil has been removed.
- Wet your shoes with the Sterigene disinfectant.
- Stay on the track.
- There is a seat built into the hygiene station to help make cleaning shoes easy.
- Ramps will be installed on hygiene stations where the track is wheelchair accessible.
Will the disinfectant in the spray unit damage my footwear?
No. Sterigene (the disinfectant sprayed onto your shoes after the removal of soil) is a non-toxic, biodegradable disinfectant that is effective against viruses, fungi, bacteria and kauri dieback.
Where does the waste water and soil go?
- All wastewater and soil from shoes is collected in the sump at the base of the unit.
- The water will evaporate away.
- The soil will be removed from the unit by rangers and taken to approved landfill sites.
Why do I need to use the hygiene station on the way in to the forest and on the way out?
The hygiene station is designed to capture all soil from peoples' shoes, which will ensure that no soil is taken into or out of a forest.
Where are they being installed?
- Twenty new hygiene stations are being installed on DOC and Council managed tracks within the Waikato, Tauranga, Hauraki, Whitianga, Auckland Mainland, Whangārei, Bay of Islands and Kauri Coast districts.
- After installation, they will be monitored for their use and compliance before further refinements to the design, fabrication and installation is considered elsewhere.