The Tree Council is hoping the work of 50 "Rāhui Warriors" alerting the public to the iwi-imposed restriction in the Waitākere Ranges over the weekend creates real change.

Dozens of volunteers spent the weekend spread across track entrances in Auckland's Waitākere Ranges, educating visitors about the rāhui and kauri dieback disease.

Te Kawerau a Maki imposed the unofficial ban over the 16,000ha park in December last year.

While Auckland Council had closed certain affected tracks, it had come under fire for not closing the entire park.


Mayor Phil Goff and a majority of councillors voted to support the rāhui 'in principle' - which the Iwi and Tree Council members have labelled "confusing".

Tree Council secretary Dr Mels Barton said she was largely pleased with the response met by the team of volunteers over the weekend.

The "adopt-a-track" initiative was a combined effort from several groups concerned with the confusion around the rāhui - including the Tree Council and the local Iwi.

It was part of an ongoing battle against kauri dieback disease which, in just five years, had spread from 8 per cent to 19 per cent of the park's kauri.

Infection rates were concentrated around where people walk.

Barton said most volunteers felt they achieved a lot and had positive communication with visitors to the park.

"The vast majority of the people that they spoke to either didn't understand the rāhui, didn't know about it at all or didn't know that the council closure didn't match up with the rãhui," she said.

"Once they realised that they were not complying with the rāhui and they were actually breaching it, they were quite horrified and really happy not to do that again."


Last month Council biosecurity manager Phil Brown told the Herald the rāhui had helped raise the profile of kauri dieback, and the importance of keeping off closed tracks.

"It has also been great to see locals out doing their part to spread the message, and respecting the rahui," he said.

But Barton said there were still a substantial number of visitors to the Waitākeres over the weekend. She hoped that many of them would not be back until the rāhui was lifted.

"At Fairy Falls track yesterday, for example, our two volunteers managed to clear the carpark by 20-30 cars just by going and talking to the people.

There would be more events like adopt-a-track, Barton said, though she hoped ongoing discussions within Auckland Council might lead to the full closure of the park.

"The council staff are put in a difficult position, the people asking them questions are confused and therefore you don't get compliance," she said.

"It's not a simple message, it's super contradictory."