Support from forest users and visitors is vital to the ensure the survival of kauri against a killer disease, with containment the best weapon, a kauri dieback symposium has heard.

The second national Kauri Dieback Symposium held last week in Hokianga was aimed at finding a cure for PTA (phytophthora taxon agathis).

Northland Conservation Board chairman Mita Harris, who chaired the symposium, said the main message was that containment of the disease was currently the best weapon.

"Kauri forests are critically important to all New Zealanders and kauri play a vital role in our culture, history, landscapes, ecosystems, and economic growth. We need to raise awareness that kauri dieback is a serious biosecurity risk or we could lose kauri completely within 50 to 100 years," Mr Harris said.


The Kauri Dieback Management Programme focused on implementing research findings and longer-term research as well as managing areas where kauri grew, he said.

"This includes upgrading high use forest tracks to reduce risk. But until we can find a cure, everyone visiting or working in our forests - from forestry workers, trappers, and pig hunters to recreational users such as trampers or mountain bikers - must take responsibility to help stop the spread of the disease."

Spores of the fungus-like disease live in soil and are spread with soil movement, with dirty footwear, animals, equipment, and vehicles all capable of carrying PTA from infected areas to healthy areas of kauri.

"If you are visiting or working in kauri forests, the Northland Conservation Board is appealing to you to make sure your shoes, tyres, and equipment are cleaned to remove all visible soil and plant material before and after visiting. Please use the cleaning stations installed on major tracks, and stay on the track and off kauri roots," Mr Harris said.

The Northland Conservation Board would continue to support the efforts of the Kauri Dieback Management Programme and community and iwi/hapu initiatives, he said.