Whangarei takes action on the spread of kauri dieback

By Jessica Tyson

Whangarei District Council is taking action to stop the spread of kauri dieback disease at one of the regions much-loved tracks, following the recent closure of the vast majority of tracks at the Waitākere Ranges near Auckland.

Whangarei's AH Reed Memorial Park tracks will be closed tomorrow while a new cleaning station is installed to protect its kauri trees from dieback disease.

Whangarei District Council officer Stuart Jackson says the council wants “to protect our trees, not just for their own sake and all the benefits that come from a thriving ecology, but so that people can enjoy them too.

“Recent events have made us all realise how fragile a privilege it is to be able to walk among these ancient, living giants.”

He says the AH Reed Memorial Park is a magnificent remnant of the original Northland kauri forest. A bubbling Wai Koromiko Stream runs through the middle of the park as well as the Paranui Falls that are over 23 metres high.

"Visitors, including wheelchair users, can walk along a raised walkway through a forest canopy of maturing kauri trees known to be at least 500 years old,” he says.

Jackson says the existing barrel-and-grate hygiene station at the entrance to the park, off Whareora Road, will be replaced entirely by a high-tech boot cleaning station donated by the Department of Conservation.

"Whangarei District Council, Northland Regional Council and DOC and the manufacturers MW design and contractors NZ Trackwork are all pitching in together on this and using it as part of a Northland training programme to install these stations.

“It is a rare and special situation and we want to ensure people can experience it for generations to come.”

The spread of kauri dieback has more than doubled in the past five years, with 20 percent of kauri now infected. The disease eats into the roots of the tree, stripping the canopy and causing bark to waste away.