Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has announced the temporary closure from today of the track leading to Tāne Mahuta, to install a footwear cleaning station as extra protection against kauri dieback for New Zealand’s largest kauri.
“Kauri dieback is the single biggest threat kauri have ever faced. It slowly starves a tree to death, infecting the roots and destroying tissues that carry water and nutrients,” Ms Barry says.
“People walking through a kauri forest can unknowingly spread through their footwear the microscopic spores that cause the disease. Nearly all infected kauri die and there is currently no cure.”
“It’s vital we keep the spores away from Tāne Mahuta. The track from State Highway 12 to the giant kauri is already all fenced boardwalk to prevent anyone leaving the track and the cleaning station is an additional protection measure.”
“The cleaning station will have brushes to remove mud and spray bottles with Trigene disinfectant to apply after all mud has been brushed off footwear. Trigene will kill kauri dieback spores on footwear, but only if the shoes are mud free,” Ms Barry says.
Te Roroa Manawhenua Trust Board Chairman, Sonny Nesbit, says kauri dieback is a very serious issue.
“The spread of this disease is a major threat to the health and wellbeing of kauri in the Waipoua Forest and throughout New Zealand. It will impact heavily on iconic trees such as Tāne Mahuta and Te Iwi o Te Roroa who have had a cultural and spiritual connection to this Ngahere for hundreds of years,” Mr Nesbit says.
The Tāne Mahuta track will be closed for a week - from today until Friday April 7 while the footwear cleaning station is installed, in time for the busy Easter holidays.
The Government is committed to ensuring the disease is met and beaten and in 2014 put $21.6 million towards preventing the spread of kauri dieback.
“26 high priority DOC tracks in the Bay of Islands, Northland, Auckland, Coromandel, Tauranga and Waikato regions have already been upgraded. Boardwalks or plastic honeycomb cells filled with bark and gravel have been installed on 56 kilometres of track to make them dry and mud-free,” Ms Barry says.
DOC is planning upgrade work on a further 150 km of track and more cleaning stations in other kauri forests.
Background:Kauri grows in Northland, Auckland, Waikato, the Coromandel Peninsula, Great Barrier Island and the Bay of Plenty. Kauri dieback has been detected in Northland, the Waitakere Ranges, Great Barrier Island and on the Coromandel Peninsula. Kauri dieback has been in New Zealand since the 1950s, but was not formally identified until 2008. The multi-agency Kauri Dieback Management Programme (KDMP) was established in 2009 to combat the disease. The partners in the programme are: Tāngata Whenua, MPI, DOC and the councils in the regions where kauri grows. The Kauri Dieback Management Programme continues research into the origin of the kauri dieback, its spread and new ways to detect its presence.