In a move to prevent the spread of, and protect against, kauri dieback disease, Auckland Council has implemented the closure of the forested areas of the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park and 10 higher-risk tracks in the Hunua Ranges Regional Park, effective 1 May 2018.
The Ministry for Primary Industries also introduced Controlled Area Notices (CAN) across the tracks currently open. New signs and barriers are being put in place on the tracks and compliance officers will be closely monitoring the closures and controlled areas in both parks.
Councillor Penny Hulse, Environment and Community Committee chair said that the closure would slow the spread of kauri dieback but would require the support of Aucklanders.
“Each one of us must do our bit by staying away from all closed areas. We know these places are special to many people; this is why we are taking this action now, so that future generations can continue to enjoy kauri,” she says.
The closure of the areas is included within the rahui placed by Te Kawerau a Maki, which remains in place over the wider Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area.
While Aucklanders can visit all the areas of the Hunua Ranges Regional Park except for the tracks closed, they are urged to take extra caution on tracks with CAN. Visitors have to ensure they use hygiene stations whenever they pass them to clean and disinfect their footwear and equipment. No visible soil, including on footwear, equipment, and animals, can be carried in or out of the region. Anyone not meeting the CAN requirements could be issued a trespass notice, which, if ignored, will lead to a fine.
Kauri trees—a native New Zealand species—are among the most ancient in the world and can live for more than 2000 years, growing to more than 50 metres in height and have trunk girths up to 16 metres. The trees have spiritual significance and Maori regard it as a rangatira (chiefly) species, as many other species depend on it.
If you’re visiting kauri areas, you can prevent the spread of kauri dieback diseases by:
- cleaning your footwear, equipment, accompanying animals before and after visiting the forests,
- using cleaning stations,
- staying on tracks and avoiding closed tracks, and
- not removing soil from or bring soil into kauri forests
To find the complete list of current track closures and further information, visit aurauckland.govt.nz.