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North Shore kauri to be tested for dieback

Published: 6 November 2018

A row of planted kauri located in North Shore’s Chelsea Heritage Park have been cordoned off as a precautionary measure while testing for kauri dieback disease is carried out.

The 10-year-old trees have been inspected recently and several of them could possibly have kauri dieback. This will be confirmed via a soil sample that is currently being tested at the laboratory.

Auckland Council Biosecurity Manager Phil Brown says visual inspection of the trees are inconclusive but there is a strong possibility that the kauri are infected with the disease.

“The trees are showing signs of decline; however, we cannot be 100 per cent sure of infection until the test results come back.

“We are expecting the results back in several weeks, but in the meantime have fenced the trees off as a precautionary measure. These trees are in isolation within the park and are not located on any tracks.

“In the long-term, the area around the trees could be planted to protect shallow feeder roots. This will stop people walking on the area, and will assist with the health of the tree, by protecting the roots.

“Dependent on the results, we are investigating injecting the trees with phosphite. While this is not a cure for kauri dieback, it helps to boost the trees' immune system and trials have shown that it can assist sick trees," he says.

Kaipatiki Local Board Chair John Gillon says that while it is disappointing to have more kauri tested for the disease, proactive work is being accelerated to protect Kaipatiki kauri. 

“We continue to work hard alongside the community and council on proactive measures to protect our precious kauri,” says Mr Gillon.

North Shore Ward Councillor Richard Hills says, “It will be devastating if more of our precious kauri are found to have dieback. I am glad that we have prioritised the funding and work on this issue; and that our community partners with us in this fight. I thank locals for supporting the environmental targeted rate. Without this, we would be unable to do this crucial work.”

Earlier this year, tests on another kauri tree located in the park returned negative for kauri dieback.

After the discovery of kauri dieback in Kauri Park and Muriel Fisher Reserve in Birkenhead, other proactive closures by Auckland Council were implemented across Kaipatiki reserves in September.

Visitors to kauri forest should always clean their footwear and equipment before entering kauri areas and after leaving and should use any footwear cleaning stations they encounter on their visit. They should also keep to designated open tracks.