Waitākere Ranges tracks officially closed

By Jessica Tyson

The vast majority of tracks at the Waitākere Ranges are now officially closed by the Auckland Council in a bid to stop the spread of kauri dieback disease.

The closure reflects respect for the rāhui placed by mana whenua representatives, Te Kawerau ā Maki, last December and only 31 kauri tracks remain open.

Environment and Community Committee Chair from the Auckland Council Penny Hulse says this is one of the largest conservation efforts ever undertaken in New Zealand.

“It’s a complex long-term task to put in place and work is on-going but it’s a significant achievement to reach this point in such a short timeframe,” says Hulse.

People visiting the open tracks are required to clean their shoes and stay on track to avoid spreading the disease.

“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,” says Hulse.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says, "together with mana whenua and central government we have taken strong and decisive action to tackle one of Auckland’s most urgent and challenging environmental issues.”

Te Kawerau and the Auckland Council further re-openings in the future as tracks are upgraded.