Spreading the word to save our kauri forests

Media contact: Debbie Caterer
Telephone: 04 894 2593

The Kauri Dieback Programme and Bivouac Outdoor have joined up to share the message on preventing the spread of kauri dieback disease with outdoor enthusiasts.

Kauri dieback kills kauri trees of all ages and sizes. There is no known cure as yet so our only options are to contain it, and prevent it spreading to healthy kauri. This means asking people to remove and clean all soil from their gear (shoes, clothing and bikes and so on) and keep to the tracks when visiting kauri forests.

Bivouac Outdoor is helping spread the word by trialling the sale of cleaning kits direct to the public from Bivouac’s four Auckland stores in Albany, Newmarket, Sylvia Park and Queen Street. These kits include: a scrubbing brush, 500ml trigene spray, and a dirty gear bag. Posters are also in store to raise awareness of the disease.

They also send their customers’ kauri dieback factsheets along with their online purchases, and have the Programme contribute to Bivouac’s online blog, which reaches several thousand outdoor enthusiasts every month - many of who live in, or near kauri land.

‘We will only keep kauri standing for future generations with the publics’ help,’ says Kauri Dieback Programme Leadership Team Chair, Erik van Eyndhoven.  ‘So having organisations like Bivouac Outdoor spread the word is critical in protecting our unique forests and everything that lives within them.’

‘Our customers love New Zealand’s great outdoors, and its great our organisation can play a part in protecting such an iconic part of our country’s landscape,’ said Wayne Martin, owner and director of Bivouac Outdoor.

Help ‘spread the word and not the disease’, by visiting the Kauri Dieback Programme website www.kauridieback.co.nz and following us on facebook.

For more information contact:
Media: Debbie Caterer
Senior Communications Adviser, Kauri Dieback Programme
Ph 04 894 2593

Frequently asked kauri dieback questions

What is kauri dieback?
Kauri dieback is caused by a microscopic fungus-like disease called Phytophthora ’taxon Agathis’ (PTA).

How does it spread?
Through the movement of microscopic spores in soil, water, and root/wood material.

What does it do to kauri?
This disease infects kauri roots and damages the tissues that carry nutrients and water within the tree. This basically starves the tree to death. Symptoms include yellowing leaves, canopy thinning, dead branches and bleeding gum at the base of the trunk. Nearly all infected trees die.

Where has it been found?
Kauri dieback has been detected in Northland, Auckland, the Coromandel Peninsula and on Great Barrier Island.

In the Auckland region kauri dieback has been detected in the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park administered by Auckland Council, DOC reserves at Okura and Albany and on private land at a number of locations.

In Northland it’s been detected in Trounson Kauri Park and Waipoua, Omahuta,  Russell, Raetea and Pukekaroro native forest reserves managed by DOC. It’s also been detected in the privately managed Glenbervie pine forest, which has pockets of kauri and a number of other sites on private land.

How did it get here?
Scientists realised kauri dieback was “a new disease to science” in 2008. However, spores of kauri dieback were first discovered along with sick kauri on Great Barrier Island in the 1970s. Identification methods at the time led to these samples being misclassified. There are also indications it has been in New Zealand since the 1950s.

Soil microbes could take a long time to build up in the soil before any effect is seen in the environment. It may be that we have been spreading it around kauri forests for the last 50 years without realising this was happening, especially as we are more mobile as a society than we were even 25 years ago. It’s only now that we know kauri dieback spores are present in the soil and are fatal to kauri.

What are you doing about it?
Scientists in the kauri dieback response programme are working to find out more about the disease and how it spreads.

We do know that the kauri dieback spores can be transported in minute amounts of soil and are working to prevent members of the public from spreading the disease.

The many locations affected, and the fact we do not currently have a cure means we need to concentrate on minimising the risk of spreading the disease. 

The Kauri Dieback Management Programme will continue to focus its efforts on slowing the spread of kauri dieback and protecting our remaining disease-free forests while working to identify better ways to detect, manage and control this disease and its impacts on our kauri.

This involves ongoing work to raise awareness of the disease, its symptoms and how it can be spread. Everyone is being reminded to clean footwear and other gear in contact with soil when entering and leaving a kauri forest.

Who manages and funds the programme?
The Kauri Dieback Management Programme is a partnership between Tāngata Whenua, MPI, DOC, Auckland Council, Northland Regional Council, Waikato Regional Council and Bay of Plenty Regional Council. It was established in 2009.

The programme is funded by MPI, DOC, Auckland Council, Waikato Regional Council, Northland Regional Council and Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

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