Date: 06 April 2021
An extensive round of kauri dieback testing on Great Barrier/Aotea Island has detected two new infected sites – one near the Tramline Track above Kaitoke swamp and another remote site in the Awana catchment.
The field programme, developed by Auckland Council in conjunction with the Department of Conservation and mana whenua, collected 100 samples from 38 sites of interest, and is the largest the island has seen to date.
DOC Operations Manager Dave Smith says the soil testing began in November and was based on analysing aerial photographs to find trees with symptoms similar to kauri dieback.
"We were able to confirm new sites on Aotea through this programme and although disappointing to find a spread, we are pleased that it is not as extensive as it could have been.
"Kauri dieback has been identified on Aotea for almost 50 years and two positive sites out of 38 is overall an encouraging result. We can now work together to make sure the spread does not reach areas that have tested negative like Harataonga, Te Paparahi, Mount Young and Hirakimata."
Aotea kaitiaki Rodney Ngawaka worked closely with the survey team. He says iwi were particularly concerned about the remote northern part of the island and it is pleasing they have come back with negative results.
To manage the risk spread, Auckland Council and DOC will upgrade tracks and install hygiene stations.
Auckland councillor Pippa Coom says "Preventing the disease from moving around remains critical – especially for people who visit off-track kauri areas. People can assist by staying on our formed tracks and using hygiene stations when visiting forested areas of the island."
Prior to the sampling round, three positive sites of kauri dieback infection were known on Aotea. A large site near the south end of Forest Rd above Whangaparapara; the Kaiaraara site towards Bushes Beach, and a small site behind Okiwi Station.
Kauri dieback is caused by microscopic spores in soil that infect kauri roots. Kauri dieback can be spread by just a pinhead of soil – but you can help save kauri.
- Clean soil off your footwear and other gear every time you enter or leave an area with native trees, and at every cleaning station.
- Use disinfectant only after you have removed all soil.
- Stay on track and off kauri roots. A kauri’s roots can grow outwards 3 times as far as its branches.
- Spread the word within your networks on how to stop kauri dieback.
Infected trees may not show it – always assume there is kauri dieback. If you are in native bush in the upper North Island, it's likely you'll be near kauri.
More information on the Kauri Dieback Progamme website.
For media enquiries contact: