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Published: 2013-09-30 00:00:00

Waikato Regional Council is asking people to remain vigilant over preventing the spread of the tree disease kauri dieback, despite a recent survey in Waikato and Coromandel not detecting any signs of it.

The survey was done as part of the wider Surveillance II project, carried as part of a multi-agency initiative to prevent the spread of kauri dieback, a fungus-like disease also referred to as Phytophthora taxon Agathis or PTA for short.

Kauri dieback has been devastating stands of kauri on Great Barrier Island, in forested areas of Northland and Auckland including Waipoua Forest (home of Tane Mahuta) and Trounson Kauri Park, and the Waitakere Ranges.

Surveillance II was a national surveillance programme in which 212 soil samples were taken from 89 sites in kauri-growing areas. Eleven sites were within the Waikato region (nine in the Coromandel and two in the Waikato).

“All soil samples taken in the Waikato returned ‘not detected’ results indicating that the Waikato and Coromandel remain disease free, which is great news,” said the council’s biosecurity-heritage group manager John Simmons.

However, further soil sampling is planned for the future in other areas within the Waikato region, including the Hakarimata Ranges and Te Kauri Reserve – the largest, southernmost stand of kauri.

“In the meantime, we urge people to be careful when they are travelling between areas where kauri grow so as to help prevent the spread of the disease,” said Mr Simmons.

Kauri dieback is spread by soil movement. Dirty footwear, animals, equipment and vehicles are responsible for the large scale spread of this disease between different areas of kauri.

“To help the Waikato be kauri dieback-free, ensure footwear, tramping gear and equipment are thoroughly cleaned before entering forests and thoroughly cleaned again afterwards,” said Mr Simmons.

“Coromandel has the largest stand of kauri outside of Northland. It is important that we do all we can to safeguard these taonga. Every effort will be made this summer to remind people to clean their shoes and be vigilant when walking within the forest.”

The full results of Surveillance II are available on the kauri dieback website: http://www.kauridieback.co.nz/media/34150/surveillance%202%20final%20report%20pdf.pdf

A map showing all soil sampling locations is here: http://www.kauridieback.co.nz/media/34153/fig%206%20surveillance%202%20final%20report.jpg

Waikato Regional Council is part of the joint agency Kauri Dieback Programme whose aim is to reduce the risk of spread of the disease throughout kaurilands.