Calls are mounting for Auckland Council to implement a ban on visitors going through a popular Auckland park before the end of this year, to protect the native kauri.

Te Kawerau ā Maki has committed to imposing a rāhui, or restriction in the area before Christmas to prevent the spread of kauri dieback.

The disease had spread throughout the park and latest council figures showed 19 per cent of the native trees were infected - up from 8 per cent five years ago.

The disease has spread throughout the park, and in worst-affected areas like Piha, kauri will likely be extinct in five years, Auckland Council's report says.


The iwi was backed by the Tree Council, Waitakere Ranges Protection Society and Forest & Bird in calls for a Controlled Area Notice, and had written to Auckland Council requesting it was implemented before the forest was inundated with summer visitors.

The native species has been extensively logged in years gone past and the incurable disease is wiping out what's left of the trees.

A statement from Te Kawerau ā Maki said it was clear the infection was mainly being spread by people.

"The majority of the infection is along the track network and worst in the areas with heaviest foot traffic."

Tree Council spokeswoman Dr Mels Barton said the rāhui was required before an influx of visitors through summer.

And Waitakere Ranges Protection Society President John Edgar said upgraded cleaning stations were desperately needed.

"They need to urgently close the tracks in the forest and make a significant investment to upgrade infrastructure so that it is safe to let people back in."

Te Kawerau ā Maki's executive manager Edward Ashby told Fairfax the group had asked Auckland Council to impose a Controlled Area Notice in support of the ban, but said mana whenua intended to press ahead regardless.


Ashby said a ceremony would be held to close all the tracks before the end of this year, but they would be opened one by one over time as it was deemed safe to do so.

The closure would put a stop to events like the Hillary Trail Marathon, which was scheduled to take place in February.