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 Peninsula forests will take personally, and by observing simple hygiene precautions do their bit to prevent kauri dieback disease spreading amongst Coromandel Peninsula kauri.
Kauri 2000 chairperson Alison Henry says with thousands of holidaymakers and tourists hitting the Peninsula over the next few weeks it is 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. There is no cure. It 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,” says Henry. “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.”
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 their paws as well as your own gear.
Obey all track closures – it’s a small commitment for you but will make a big difference to our kauri! (You can check for Department of Conservation (DOC) 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.
Kauri 2000 has received funding from the Ministry for Primary Industries to run an advertising campaign targeting local residents and the thousands of tourists and holidaymakers who visit the Peninsula over the peak holiday season.
New Chum 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.
Three top tips for cleaning footwear
• Remove the soil first, paying special attention to the treads. Dispose of soil in your rubbish bag or where people won’t walk.
• Scrub off every trace of soil with hot soapy water – soles and uppers. This is the most important step. Repeat until all the soil is removed. Pour dirty water down the drain or into your septic tank.
• Rinse clean, and spray with Sterigene solution, or a diluted solution of household disinfectant, as an added precaution.
To learn more visit www.kauridieback.co.nz.