Waikato Regional Council has this afternoon cordoned off two kauri trees at Woodstock Primary School in Fairfield after signs that they may be infected with the fungus-like disease known as “kauri dieback”.
Kauri dieback has so far been confirmed to have affected trees in the Northland and Auckland regions. The disease enters the tree via the roots and causes it to die. A major multi-agency programme, including the council, is underway to help prevent its spread.
The disease has been a significant issue in other areas since 2006 but so far there have been no confirmed cases in the Waikato.
However, after a public call to the kauri dieback hotline, the council’s biosecurity team this morning visited Woodstock school to check the two trees, which were planted at the school about 30-40 years ago.
As a result of information from the council inspection, the kauri dieback programme requested the cordoning off and for signs to be put up alerting people to stay on a concrete path that goes by the two trees.
It’s expected to be up to six weeks before tests can confirm whether the trees are actually infected.
The programme will begin developing a disease management plan for the area in conjunction with the school and other interested parties.
The key way people can help prevent the spread of the disease is to stay on formed tracks in areas where there are kauri, to not stand on kauri roots and to keep footwear clean.
Signage to this effect and footwear cleaning stations have been put in place in parts of the Coromandel, the Hakiramata Ranges near Ngaruawahia, Te Kauri Reserve near Kawhia and a private reserve.
Checks on a range of sites in the Waikato are ongoing for other signs of kauri dieback.
More information on kauri dieback is available at www.kauridieback.co.nz.