Landslip at Okura Bush
Image: Stefan Sebregts | DOC


Okura Bush walkway will remain closed for an extended period due to extensive slip damage caused by severe weather events earlier this year.

Date:  20 December 2023

DOC closed the Okura Bush Walkway in May 2018 to help stop the spread of the pathogen phytophthora agathidicida (PA) which causes kauri dieback disease. The closure was supported by the declaration of a rāhui by mana whenua; Te Kawerau ā Maki, Ngāti Manuhiri and Ngāti Rehua Ngātiwai ki Aōtea.

Following the initial closure, DOC worked with mana whenua on track upgrades to mitigate against the risk of kauri dieback disease. Whilst some upgrades were made during 2019 and 2021, the closure remained as it was identified further mitigation was needed.

The track was still closed when the extreme weather in the summer of 2023 caused major slip damage. Four sections along the southern end of the track suffered major damage.

A landslide spanning around 40 metres extends right from the top of the cliff to the sea. The section is impassable, and the thick layer of debris remains unstable. Three other landslides have either destroyed or severely compromised the track.

Rebecca Rush, Auckland Mainland Operations Manager says that there is a lot of uncertainty and further work to be done.

“Sadly, there are no easy fixes for Okura Bush Walkway. We have sought a geotechnical report and are working closely with mana whenua to continue to explore options for the long-term future of the track.

“Given the extensive damage to the walkway, finding a solution that will withstand future severe weather events will be challenging and likely very costly. This may result in a decision not to reinstate the walkway.

“If a solution is found to reinstate all or part of the walkway, it is likely to take some years to plan and undertake this work.

“This has been a long process, and it is frustrating to have this space closed for recreation. However, we’re now dealing with both significant landslides in addition to concern over the health of kauri – some of the trees are centuries old.”

As one of the longest-living tree species in the world, some of the kauri in Okura Bush were growing in the 1600s when the Māori ancestor Maki and his people settled in the area.

DOC and mana whenua have a track management agreement to enable public access in a way that reduces the risk of PA, supports forest health and respects tikanga (cultural customs).

The northern section of Okura Bush Walkway from Stillwater to Karepiro Bay (Dacre Cottage) remains open and is managed by Auckland Council.

Alternative outdoor recreation areas close by include Long Bay Regional Park, and the Te Ara Tahuna / Ōrewa Estuary Path managed by Auckland Council, for water activities visit the Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve managed by DOC.


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