It is "highly likely" an iconic Auckland trail run through the Waitākere Ranges will be scrapped following calls for mass action to protect the native Kauri.
Te Kawerau ā Maki Iwi has committed to imposing a rāhui, or restriction in the area before Christmas to prevent the spread of kauri dieback. It was also calling on Auckland Council to implement a ban on visitors going through the forest that would support this measure.
The ban would put a stop to events like the Hillary Trail Marathon, which was scheduled to take place in February.
The event, which started in 2014 and takes place every February, offered three course options. Runners could battle their way through 80km from Arataki, 34km from Piha or 16km from Bethells, with all finishing at Muriwai.
Event organiser Shaun Collins said he was "gutted".
Speaking to the Herald from the Hillary Trail today, where he was attempting the 'Trillary' - a marathon effort to complete the Hillary Trail three times back to back - Collins said he had put "heaps" into getting the event up and running.
Midway through the 225km course and slightly short of breath, Collins said in years gone by participants in the event had complied with Kauri protection measures like scrubbing one's shoes. However he had spoken with Iwi representatives and understood where they were coming from.
Even if the event was scrapped, he was determined it would be a break in it's legacy rather than the finish line.
"They said if the tracks come up to a standard to which the Kauri wasn't affected then it [the event] could be back in years to come."
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 was wiping out what was 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."
In a post on "The Hillary" Facebook page Collins said organisers had shut entries due to chances the event would get the green light being slim.
"This is gut-wrenching news for us - we've been waiting patiently (or not so patiently) on council to give us the consent (which we filed in May) for a rollover of our 3-year permit. The recently released report on Kauri dieback has created issues and a delay with this process," it read.
However, the post went on to say there was a small chance the event would go ahead.
"We have had a promise from Auckland Council that they will let us know either way by 1 December 2017. Depending on their consultation with the iwi we may still be in luck."
Auckland Council's regional parks manager Rachel Kelleher said Council had been in discussion with both Collins and Te Kawerau ā Maki.
"We have worked with the organiser extensively on previous events and found very high compliance with required kauri dieback hygiene measures," Kelleher said.
However, a decision hadn't yet been reached about whether a Controlled Area Notice would be implemented.
Collins said event organisers were in the process of working out a way forward for those who had already registered for the race. He asked people in this boat to be patient until they know for sure.