Northland's kauri trees are under threat from Kauri dieback disease - but it's an age-old issue that's forcing the removal of two big kauri north of Dargaville.
A lightning strike has left two kauri at Trounson Kauri Park dead and in danger of toppling, so the Department of Conservation has to remove them.
A DoC spokeswoman said the trees were hit by lightning 18 months ago and pose a health and safety risk so they have to be removed.
They are being removed later this month - though exact times are still being worked on - and will be used by Te Roroa iwi afterwards.
The spokeswoman said the area the trees have suffered from kauri dieback so all precautions will be used to manage the removal. The site is also close to Waipoua Forest, which contains the country's largest kauri tree Tāne Mahuta.
The trees are a great loss, especially in the face of the threat of kauri dieback, but the removal has to be done and has the support of Te Roroa.
Last month Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan has announced a Government-funded collaboration between Northland iwi that is aimed at stopping the spread of kauri dieback, and will create up to 30 jobs.
The $3.5 million initiative, which is part of the Government's Jobs for Nature programme, cover about 50 per cent of the region's kauri forests. It will include Waipoua and Warawara, the two most significant old-growth forests in Northland, and Te Rerenga Wairua (Cape Reinga).
The iwi involved are Te Roroa, Te Rarawa, Ngati Wai and Ngati Kuri. The areas where kauri protection will be carried out include Waipoua, Maunganui, Waima, Mataraua, Tokatoka, Trounson Park, Warawara, Herekino, Takahue, Ahipara, Pukepoto, Raetea, Te Paki, Hikurua, Kapowairua, Te Rerenga Wairua, Pukenui, Parihaka, Manaia and Glenbervie as well as the offshore islands of Aotea (Great Barrier), Te Hauturu-o-Toi (Little Barrier), Tawhiti Rahi me Aorangi (Poor Knights) and the Hen and Chickens.
Kauri protection needs differ in each forest but include prevention, mitigation, education, treatment, restoration and surveillance.
Allan said that without urgent action, kauri dieback could devastate iconic Northland forests.
What is kauri dieback?
• Kauri dieback can kill kauri of all ages.
• It's a disease caused by a microscopic fungus-like organism, called Phytophthora
• It lives in the soil and infects kauri roots, damaging the tissues that carry nutrients and water within the tree, effectively starving it to death.
Last week the Northern Advocate revealed that ancient swamp kauri from Northland has been used to confirm that a temporary breakdown of Earth's magnetic field 42,000 years ago sparked major climate shifts leading to global environmental change and mass extinctions.
A new international study using ancient swamp kauri from Ngawha shows this dramatic turning point in Earth's history was triggered by a reversal of Earth's magnetic poles and changing solar winds.
The findings came two years after a particularly important ancient kauri tree was uncovered at Ngawha. The massive tree - with a trunk spanning more than 2.5 metres - was alive during the event, which is known as the Laschamp geomagnetic excursion.
The research confirms that the event was around 42,000 years ago.