Tuesday, 22 January 2019

WHITIANGA WEATHER

Protecting Coromandel kauri - it's up to you!

The simple steps you take to clean your gear will help protect our kauri forests and could mean the difference between the ultimate survival and extinction of this iconic species. That’s a message the Kauri 2000 Trust hopes everyone visiting forests on the Coromandel Peninsula will take personally and by observing simple hygiene precautions do their bit to prevent kauri dieback disease spreading among Coromandel Peninsula kauri.

Kauri 2000 chairperson Alison Henry says with thousands of holidaymakers and tourists hitting the Peninsula over the next few weeks, it’s particularly important that visitors from Auckland, Northland and Great Barrier Island “come clean to the Coromandel” and that locals also play their part in protecting our kauri.

“Kauri dieback disease kills kauri of all ages and sizes by destroying their feeding roots,” says Alison. “There’s no cure. The disease has spread rapidly through our kauri forests because people have transported infected dirt from one area to another and it’s highly likely that’s how kauri dieback came to the Coromandel.

“The only practical way to save our kauri forests now is to stop the spread of the disease into healthy areas and to keep it contained within known infected locations. Fortunately, even with the recent discovery of a new site near Tairua, there are still only a limited number of infected sites on the Peninsula. If we all apply simple hygiene procedures every time we go into the bush, we should be able to slow down the spread of this disease.”

These are the simple procedures we need to follow every time we go into the bush -

  • Clean all dirt off your footwear, tyres and equipment before you leave home and again after every visit to a kauri forest.
  • Always use hygiene stations entering and exiting forests - scrub, check you’ve removed all soil, or at least as much as possible, then spray with disinfectant.
  • Stay on tracks at all times and off kauri roots. Walking on and disturbing soil around the roots can spread the disease and also damages fine feeder roots.
  • Keep dogs on a leash as they can spread soil too. Hunting or moving between forests, clean your dog’s paws as well as your own gear.
  • Obey all track closures - it’s a small commitment from you but will make a big difference to our kauri. You can check for Department of Conservation track closures before you set out at www.doc.govt.nz.

Efforts to protect Coromandel kauri are ramping up this summer. DOC has been progressively upgrading tracks and installing new hygiene stations, and track ambassadors will be stationed at several key tracks this summer to explain how you can help to protect our kauri forests.

New Chums Beach/Wainuiototo is a very popular spot over summer, but there is kauri dieback in this area, so it’s important not to take short cuts or trespass through private property. Stick to the public track, and stay on the beach, please don’t go exploring or camp up behind the beach.

If you want to look at kauri, go to places where there are boardwalks so you can get up close without standing on the tree roots. Great places to see mature kauri are the 309 Kauri Grove and the Long Bay Kauri Walk.

To learn more visit www.kauridieback.co.nz.

Pictured: A team from the Department of Conservation and two community volunteers installing a new hygiene station at an entrance to the Matarangi Bluff Track (between Matarangi and Rings Beach) last week. From left to right - Ryan Berney (DOC summer ranger), Ian McDonald (member of the Rings Beach Wetland Reserve Group), Ian Booth (DOC recreation ranger) Chris Twemlow (DOC kauri protection ranger), Cheyenne Walmsley (DOC kauri protection ranger) and Ian Patrick (member of the Rings Beach Wetland Reserve Group).

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The Mercury Bay Informer is a highly popular community newspaper, based in Whitianga. The paper is distributed throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, coast to coast from Thames to north of Colville.