Spreading the word, not the disease

24 November 2011

The fight to stop the spread of kauri dieback disease has been strengthened with a new website and the appointment of a dedicated Relationship Manager for the Kauri Dieback Programme.

Spokesperson for the programme, John Sanson from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, says "The importance of kauri to our identity, culture, economy and biodiversity means it's crucial we all do what we can to act now to minimise the spread of kauri dieback - otherwise we risk losing kauri forever."

"The new www.kauridieback.co.nz site provides information on the disease, including the message of staying on tracks and removing soil from footwear, bikes and equipment going into, and out of, forest areas. Links to Facebook and email will also help visitors to the site pass the Keep Kauri Standing message onto others. This acknowledges that the internet and social media now dominate how we seek and share information – young and old alike."

Mr. Sanson also notes "While the website is important, nothing replaces the power of face to face connections. The appointment of Ian Mitchell as Relationship Manager boosts our ability to connect with communities and help mobilise them to protect our kauri taonga. Ian's background in science, business mentoring, environmental issues and as an arborist has been imbued with a strong sense of kaitiakitanga."

Kauri dieback disease is caused by a fungus-like micro-organism which damages the tissues that carry nutrients within the kauri tree. Kauri Dieback is spread by spores in the soil and can kill trees of any age, even the giants over 1,000 years old. It has a range of symptoms including yellowing of foliage, loss of leaves, canopy thinning, dead branches and lesions that bleed resin at the base of the trunk.

The Kauri Dieback Programme is a coordinated response to the disease involving Maori, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Department of Conservation, Auckland Council and Northland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty Regional Councils. The programme is researching the detection and spread of the disease, seeking tools to control it, and promoting public awareness. Efforts are focussed on limiting the spread of the disease and protecting uninfected forests.

More information on kauri dieback disease is available at www.kauridieback.co.nz - including the latest edition of the Kauri Konnect newsletter which has an article on Ian Mitchell.

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Last Updated: 25 November 2011

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