Fourteen people will be receiving trespass notices and bylaw breaches so far this summer for entering areas closed because of kauri dieback disease in Auckland's forests.

Another four people can expect formal warnings as checks continue, Auckland Council said in a statement today.

The two areas leading the way for offending were the Henderson Valley Scenic Reserve and the Point View Reserve in Howick where locals were more likely to chance their arm on an early morning run or walk or an afternoon dip.

Person charged over Waitākere Ranges kauri dieback track breaches faces up to $60,000 in fines
Kauri dieback: Auckland Council accused of shortcomings
Kauri dieback fears close 10 Bay of Islands walking tracks
Turnout at kauri dieback disease meeting disappoints Federated Farmers Northland provincial president John Blackwell

A council spokeswoman said for a first offence a trespass notice is issued – "don't do it again is the message".

"If people are witnessed within the closed area after they have already been trespassed, we would look to prosecute for breach of the Council's bylaw and the trespass notice," she said.


Last November, a person was charged and pleaded not guilty for entering tracks closed in the Waitākere Ranges due to kauri dieback.

Auckland mayor Phil Goff said the prosecution - the first of its kind following the unprecedented track closures - reflected the "seriousness of the issue".

Between Christmas Day and January 3, kauri dieback ambassadors and compliance officers spoke with more than 1000 people in mostly an educational capacity.

The work coincided with an article in the Herald about the disease killing kauri trees and how to enjoy the Waitākere Ranges this summer while caring for the native species.

Licensing and Regulatory Compliance lead Jesse Hindt said overall people are doing all the right things, but unfortunately there are still a few people who feel the rules are not right for them.

New tracks are being built in the Waitakere Ranges to protect against Kauri dieback. Photo / Michael Craig
New tracks are being built in the Waitakere Ranges to protect against Kauri dieback. Photo / Michael Craig

"It's good to see most people are paying attention to the message, staying out of closed areas and protecting kauri," she said.

About 90,000 people visit the Waitākere Ranges every year, and the holiday season brings leisure walkers, runners and hikers out in droves to enjoy the great outdoors.

Hindt said what was pleasing to park staff was the majority of those engaged with understood why track closures were in place and were interested in information about the disease.

A concern observed over the holiday period is the rising incidence in vandalism. Closed area fences have been cut, damaged or removed.

Manager Regional Parks Rachel Kelleher said: "It's disappointing a few selfish individuals are focused only on their own recreational pursuits.

"Their behaviour means staff focus and resources are diverted away from getting on with the work needed to reopen tracks for everyone to enjoy, to repairing those that have been damaged," she said.

There are signs of vandalism at a closed track at Le Roys Bush in Birkenhead. A council spokewoman said repairs are scheduled.

Kauri dieback - a soil-borne organism that attaches itself to kauri roots and slowly starves the tree of its ability to gain nutrients and water - is a serious problem in Auckland, Coromandel and the Waipoua Forest in Northland.

People enterring forests this summer are being told to scrub and spray footwear. Photo / Michael Craig
People enterring forests this summer are being told to scrub and spray footwear. Photo / Michael Craig

Nearly 100 tracks are closed in the Waitākere Ranges, nine of them permanently. Currently about 33 tracks are open and work is being carried out to open more tracks.

Controlled Area Notices (CANs) are in place across the currently open tracks within the forested area of the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park and the whole of the native forested area of the Hunua Ranges regional parkland.

Council is advising Aucklanders and visitors to the region to find alternatives to get out and enjoy what our beautiful backyard has to offer.

If you enter or leave a forest/area with native trees anywhere across the region, here are three easy steps you need to remember:

• Scrub and clean all soil off your footwear and other gear.

• Spray your footwear and gear at every cleaning station you encounter. Kauri dieback can be spread by just a pinhead of soil.

• Stay on the designated open tracks.