A popular kauri walking track in the Waipoua Forest has been closed after Kauri Dieback was discovered nearby.
The Department of Conservation (DOC) and Te Roroa, as kaitiaki over Waipoua Forest, have closed Four Sisters Walk temporarily due to the discovery of the kauri dieback pathogen, Phytophthora agathidicida (PA), in the near vicinity.
New test results from recent soil samples were positive for two sites at the stand of kauri trees named 'the Four Sisters'. The walk will close until further notice from today, Monday May 20, and will be monitored for unauthorised visitor usage.
DOC Northern North Island Operations Director Sue Reed-Thomas said both parties are working in partnership to manage the disease at the Four Sisters.
"The immediate closure of the track is the best way to protect the kauri until an informed decision is made on future infrastructure at the site. People should understand that if they access the closed track, and the surrounding site, they are putting our kauri at great risk," Reed-Thomas said.
"Waipoua Forest already has limited public access and most visitors use the formed tracks. To help protect the forest's kauri, it's important for visitors to stick to the open tracks and clean their footwear thoroughly before entering and leaving."
Te Roroa staff conducted the soil sampling in February to establish how close the disease was to the Four Sisters.
Snow Tane, General Manager for Te Roroa, said that although most visitors to the Four Sisters are well behaved, a small number step off the boardwalk and risk spreading the disease.
Alan Nesbit, Chair of the Te Roroa Manawhenua Trust is extremely concerned an iconic stand of trees, such as the Four Sisters in Waipoua, is impacted by kauri dieback. The trust, through its technical advisory group, is monitoring the situation closely at Kauri Walks.
The walks to Tāne Mahuta and Te Matua Ngahere in Waipoua Forest remain open.
About kauri dieback:
Kauri dieback can kill kauri of all ages. It's a disease caused by a microscopic fungus-like organism, called Phytophthora agathidicida (PA).
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.
There is no cure for kauri dieback, and the disease kills most if not all the kauri it infects.
It can be spread by just a pinhead of soil.