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Published: 2014-07-25 00:00:00

The popular Long Bay to Tucks Bay walking track near Coromandel Town will now have boot cleaning stations at both ends as officials expand efforts to prevent the spread of kauri dieback disease.

The track passes an emergent kauri tree and a section of regenerating kauri bush.

Trampers and Kauri Dieback Management Programme partner agencies have been keen to see a boot cleaning station installed at the Tucks Rd end, as the disease can be spread by soil movement on boots.

So one of the programme partners, the Department of Conservation (DOC), has volunteered to supply a cleaning station now so it can be installed immediately. Installation of the new boot cleaning station is due to be carried out by Thames-Coromandel District Council (TCDC) staff.

Waikato Regional Council biosecurity group manager John Simmons thanked DOC for supplying the cleaning station. “It’s important that we work together to help stop the spread of this disease which afflicts our region’s precious kauri. DOC are to be commended for stepping in and supplying this new boot cleaning station which means both ends of the track are now covered.”

Kauri dieback – formally known as Phytophtora taxon Agathis or PTA - has killed kauri in Northland, Auckland and Great Barrier Island. Signs of it have recently been positively identified on the Coromandel. Besides being spread on boots, the fungus-like disease can be distributed through the movement of soil on items like tramping equipment and sports gear.

“As kauri dieback has now been found on the Coromandel Peninsula, it is the responsibility of both the regional and district councils, along with other agencies and the wider public, to be vigilant in terms of protecting the Coromandel’s precious kauri trees,” Mr Simmons said.

“The regional council is committed to working with TCDC to ensure that measures are stepped up in relation to public awareness and cleaning facilities on TCDC-managed reserves and stands of privately owned kauri. We expect this new cleaning station to be one of many initiatives that both councils can participate in jointly.”

TCDC’s chief executive David Hammond said: "Kauri dieback is a serious threat to kauri on the Coromandel. The new cleaning station provided by DOC is timely and much needed for the Tuck's Bay end of the walkway. We are proud to be part of the Coromandel Kauri Dieback Forum and are committed to working with all the agencies involved to protect Coromandel's precious kauri."

The Coromandel Kauri Dieback Forum – a community-based and community-led group established to help fight the disease locally – will have its inaugural meetings over the last weekend in August.