Nine new hygiene stations have recently been installed in parks across the Kaipātiki Local Board area on Auckland’s North Shore to protect kauri, with a further seven planned to go in next month.
Six stations have now been installed at Le Roy’s Bush in Birkenhead / Northcote, and three in Fernglen Native Gardens Reserve in Birkenhead. The stations in Le Roy’s Bush are part of ongoing track upgrade and remedial work taking place throughout the reserve.
The next parks in line for hygiene stations are Northcote’s Kauri Glen Reserve (four) and Birkdale’s Eskdale Reserve (three) next month.
Following those, a further 27 are planned to be installed in Kaipātiki parks and reserves between September 2020, and autumn 2022.
North Shore Ward Councillor Richard Hills says installing the stations is about reinforcing good habits to help prevent the spread of kauri dieback disease.
“It’s great to see the significant investment in our native bush. The new hygiene stations are an important reminder of what is at stake - even just a speck of soil stuck to a shoe is enough to spread the pathogen responsible for killing our precious kauri.
“It is crucial that we all do our bit to be good kaitiaki and protect our native taonga by scrubbing and spraying our shoes at these hygiene stations before and after we go on a track.”
Kaipātiki Local Board Chairperson John Gillon agrees, “We already have two parks closed due to kauri dieback disease and we don’t want it spreading any further. Our current programme of bush track upgrades and installation of hygiene stations are extremely important investments to help protect our kauri.”
Parks and reserves often have various entrances to tracks that go near kauri roots and trees, which is why there is often more than one hygiene station required for some parks and reserves.
Because the pathogen, Phytophthora agathidicida, lives in soil, it is believed to first infect kauri feeder roots, with the subsequent spread to the tree’s main roots and then lower trunk, before the whole tree succumbs to the disease.
There are various types of hygiene stations in use nationally, ranging from brushes and spray bottles in a bucket to the more sophisticated model fitted with a pressure-activated foot sprayer installed in Kaipātiki.
The new model being rolled out was developed by the Department of Conservation and has been tested and refined in partnership with stakeholders like Auckland Council.
The new sophisticated stations make it simple for park users to scrub and spray their shoes with features like a rail to lean on, a seat to sit on, plenty of room for kids and extra spray guns for removing mud that might not come off shoes (or paws) first go.
Funding for the purchase and installation of all new stations comes from the Natural Environment Targeted Rate, with $445,000 put aside for hygiene stations across the Auckland region in the current financial year. This includes stations installed in local parks, regional parks and various wharves.