In December, the Environment and Community Committee voted to close several medium and high-risk tracks in the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park to support the management of kauri dieback disease.
Forty-four tracks have now been closed and these closures are all signalled through signage at track entrances, on maps and on the council’s websites.
Penny Hulse, who chairs the Environment and Community Committee and is Waitākere Ward Councillor, says alongside these closures, Auckland Council has been carrying out additional work to protect kauri over the summer period.
“In the first instance we’re encouraging people to avoid the Waitākere Ranges and to enjoy the rest of the region where there is no risk to kauri," she says.
"However, for those who still visit the ranges, our hard-working kauri ambassadors are speaking with visitors about kauri dieback disease, and the importance of using hygiene stations and properly cleaning their shoes.
“The programme to upgrade track surfaces and install more hygiene stations has continued, and last week a phosphite trial began on some significant kauri along the Maungaroa Ridge in Piha.
“Stay away from closed tracks and if you see a cleaning station in one of our regional parks, please use it; kauri dieback is a deadly disease with no cure, and hygiene is one of the best weapons to stop it spreading,” says Councillor Hulse.
The Ministry of Primary Industries recently announced new measures to protect kauri against the disease, including putting in place a Controlled Area Notice (CAN) for kauri areas under the Biosecurity Act 1993.
“We support the coordination role that MPI is taking and are working closely with them, and the wider governance group, to provide operational input into the development of a long-term strategy for kauri dieback management," says Auckland Council Biosecurity Manager Phil Brown.
“As MPI has signalled, more work is to be done before a Controlled Area Notice can be implemented and no decision has been made on locations for a CAN in the Auckland region. This detail will be worked through over the coming weeks.”
Councillor Hulse says Aucklanders will also have an opportunity from the end of February until the end of March to consider what funding from the 10-year Budget they want to allocate to the management of kauri dieback.
“The proposed budget sets out an investment of at least $100 million towards the fight against kauri dieback, as part of a wider $300 million package for environmental protection.”
WATCH: 'A Kauri Cries'
A sobering tribute to kauri by the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra, performed in 2016.