Kerikeri myrtle rust response - media update 10 May 2017

Media contact: MPI media team
Telephone: 029 894 0328


The 10 May media update issued at 1pm (below) advised that plants from a nursery in South Auckland were undergoing testing for suspected myrtle rust. The laboratory testing has since been completed and the results were negative.

The nursery had been closed while the testing took place. The restrictions have now been lifted.

The situation remains that there are still just 2 known infected properties – a nursery in Kerikeri and a neighbouring residential garden.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) continues ground inspections in Kerikeri and tracing customers of the original infected nursery.

To date, there remain 2 properties where myrtle rust has been confirmed – the nursery where the incursion was first detected and a neighbouring private residential garden.

All other suspect reports that were sampled have tested negative for myrtle rust.

As a result of tracing activities and the responsive efforts of nursery owners, a nursery in South Auckland has reported finding suspicious symptoms. MPI is sampling and testing. The nursery involved is under temporary biosecurity controls while investigations are underway. This remains suspect-only.

MPI is committed to doing the best possible job to prevent the spread of myrtle rust. We have to be realistic, though, that this is a disease that spreads by microscopic spores that can be carried by the wind and on people, vehicles and equipment. Containing it may not be possible.

This response is still in its early days. We do not know yet what the impacts of this might be on myrtle species in New Zealand. We know that internationally its effects have varied from country to country and plant to plant.

The public message remains - if you believe you have seen signs of myrtle rust:

  • do not touch it or the plant
  • take a photo of the rust and the plant
  • call MPI's Exotic Pest and Disease Hotline on 0800 80 99 66.
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