Updated 7 May 2018, 10.45am
What is happening with the Waitākere Ranges and Hunua Ranges regional park closures?
The forested areas of the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park, and 10 higher-risk tracks in the Hunua Ranges Regional Park, are now closed to protect trees from kauri dieback disease and prevent its spread.
The closures take effect from Tuesday 1 May.
The Ministry for Primary Industries has also issued Controlled Area Notices (CANs) that apply across the currently open tracks within the forested area of the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park and the whole of the native forested area of the Hunua Ranges regional parkland.
What will I see in the parks?
Aucklanders will begin to see new signs and barriers on tracks and compliance officers monitoring the closed and controlled (open) areas in both parks. This will increase over coming weeks.
Are any tracks in the Waitākere Ranges still open?
Yes. There are some tracks still open. These tracks are either:
- outside the closed forested area
- inside the forested area, but are open because they meet the standard of a Controlled Area Notice
- in an area away from kauri.
When visiting open tracks in the forested area, you must follow the requirements of the Controlled Area Notice.
When visiting open tracks, you must comply with the Controlled Area Notice, a legal measure requiring people not take any soil into, or out of, the park and making the use of hygiene stations mandatory.
What is a Controlled Area Notice and how do I comply with it?
A CAN is an enforceable mechanism under the Biosecurity Act that controls the movement of materials that may cause a biosecurity risk, in this instance visible soil.
To follow the CANs in the Waitākere and Hunua ranges you must:
- use hygiene stations whenever you pass them to clean and disinfect all footwear and equipment.
You must not:
- carry visible soil into the Controlled Area (including on footwear and equipment and companion animals).
The CAN in place in the Waitākere Ranges also makes it an offence to carry visible soil out of the Controlled Area, as the disease is already established there, and soil moved from the ranges could be infected with the disease, resulting in further spread of the disease.
What about the rāhui over the Waitākere Ranges?
The rāhui over the Waitākere Ranges remains in place. The closed area is included within the rāhui, or cultural prohibition, placed by mana whenua Te Kawerau a Maki over the wider Waitākere Ranges Heritage Area in December 2017.
Auckland Council has worked closely with Te Kawerau a Maki on the closed area and the exceptions for tracks to be kept open.
Will other tracks in the Waitākere Ranges open in the future?
Yes. Auckland Council has identified a number of tracks in the forested area which could be re-opened once they are brought up to the standard of a Controlled Area Notice. At 1 May, some tracks were not up to the required standard.
A number of tracks have also been affected by recent storms, including treefalls and surfaces being damaged in some places.
Some additional work is now required to ensure these tracks can open as soon as possible. Further track openings will be confirmed once tracks are upgraded to agreed standards.
Auckland Council is also reviewing what the Waitākere Ranges track network should look like in the future to protect kauri. Priority will be given to restoring tracks on the Hillary Trail and connection to the coast.
Can I visit the Hunua Ranges Regional Park?
A Controlled Area Notice has been placed across the native forest area of the park and adjoining Department of Conservation-administered lands. The requirements of the CAN in these areas are the same as those above.
How will I know which tracks are open?
Closed areas will be marked with signage and barriers where necessary. Open tracks will be marked with Controlled Area Notice signage and all open tracks will be equipped with hygiene stations.
The list of closed and open tracks will be updated regularly.
The Auckland Council website will be updated regularly with the status of tracks and with maps.
Arataki Visitor Centre is open, and has more information about kauri dieback disease, and places you can visit in the Waitākere Ranges.
What are the penalties for breaching a Controlled Area Notice?
If you do not meet the required hygiene standards on open tracks you can be prosecuted under the Biosecurity Act for breaching the Controlled Area Notice.
Compliance officers will begin to monitor use of hygiene stations at entrances and exits to ensure people meet the requirements of the Controlled Area Notices.
If you are found in closed areas, you could be issued with a trespass notice. If you ignore the trespass notice you could be issued with a fine.
Find out more
Updated lists of open and closed tracks will be posted and updated on the Auckland Council website.