As the weather warms up and people become more active outdoors, trampers and others visiting bush areas are being urged to take particular care to help prevent the spread of the disease kauri dieback in the Waikato region.
Kauri dieback has been killing kauri and has also been detected at five sites on the Coromandel Peninsula.
Kauri are naturally found in the Waikato to about 38 degrees south – roughly a line from Kawhia to Tauranga.
The disease spreads through the movement of soil, including on footwear, hiking and biking equipment, and other sports gear.
“People visiting native forest in the Waikato region where there are kauri stands are asked to follow a range of precautionary measures to help prevent the disease’s spread,” said the council’s kauri dieback project manager, Kim Parker.
“Before and after visiting bush areas people should thoroughly wash their boots, and tramping and sports equipment, with detergent. Use of broad spectrum disinfectants like Sterigene or diluted bleach on boots and equipment can also help prevent the disease’s spread.
“Cleaning the wheels of vehicles after being in bush areas is also important. The more people can avoid moving even small amounts of soil between areas the better. Even one person could be enough to spread kauri dieback to a new area. Tiny amounts of soil have been shown to have the pathogen which causes the disease.”
Ms Parker said another strong recommendation was for people to stay on already formed tracks and avoid walking on kauri roots.
“Kauri are a precious taonga and the regional council is working hard with the national Kauri Dieback Programme to prevent its spread.
“By following a few simple precautions, the public can also help preserve these mighty forest giants.
“There is no known cure for kauri dieback so preventing its spread is the best way to protect the giants of the forest,” said Ms Parker.
For further information on kauri dieback, please visit www.kauridieback.co.nz.
People concerned about a sick kauri should freephone 0800 NZ Kauri (0800 695 2874).