To prevent the disease kauri dieback from spreading to the oldest and largest kauri forest in the Auckland region the Department of Conservation (DOC) has closed the tracks in the Mataitai Conservation Area near the Hunua Ranges.
“The kauri in the 680 hectare Mataitai forest is free of kauri dieback. Closing the tracks will protect this significant kauri forest from being infected with this deadly disease,” says DOC’s Auckland Area Manager, Brett Butland.
Kauri dieback is a microscopic fungus-like pathogen that’s spread through the movement of contaminated soil and water. People walking through contaminated soil or water can spread the disease on their footwear.
Kauri dieback was first identified as being the cause of kauri deaths in the Auckland region in 2006. It’s been confirmed in the Waitakere Ranges, the Awhitu Peninsula and the Rodney area. The disease has also been identified in Northland where it has infected kauri in the Trounson Kauri Park and Waipoua Forest. A kauri disease present on Great Barrier Island since 1974 has also been confirmed as kauri dieback.
“Mataitai is Auckland’s oldest and largest kauri forest. One kauri is more than 800 years-old and closing the tracks will prevent kauri dieback from spreading to these ancient trees,” says Brett Butland.
DOC has no other plans to close the tracks in other kauri forests that the department manages
“We look at each area of kauri that we manage and develop a plan that will be effective in managing the kauri dieback issues that relate to that particular forest,” says Brett Butland.
“We’ve looked at Mataitai and decided that closing the tracks is the most effective way to protect this particular stand of kauri from kauri dieback.”
“We’ve closed the tracks after talking to trampers, local residents and iwi in the area.”
“We’re grateful for their support and their co-operation in implementing this measure.”
“They share our commitment to protecting the kauri at Mataitai and we’ll continue to work with them to keep these iconic trees safe from kauri dieback,” says Brett Butland.
DOC is a member of multi agency programme working to combat kauri dieback that includes MAF Biosecurity NZ, Auckland Council, Northland Regional Council, Waikato Regional Council, Bay of Plenty Regional Council and iwi.