Kauri dieback is threatening to wipe out the country's giants of the forest and Northlanders are being urged to have their say on the future management of kauri dieback response.

Further public consultation on a new national plan and options for the best type of agency to protect kauri into the future is now open, as efforts to deal with kauri dieback disease are stepped up.

Northland's giant kauri tree Tane Mahuta, in Waipoua Forest, has been checked and cleared of kauri dieback disease although two sites in the wider area have again tested positive for the pathogen - one just 60m away.

Waipoua Forest kaitiaki Te Roroa and the Department of Conservation (DoC) said test results in November indicated the area in the immediate vicinity to Tane Mahuta was clear of Phytophthora agathidicida (PA). However, two sites around 60m and 90m away were positive for the pathogen.


"Kauri face a significant threat from dieback disease and introducing a national pest management plan is one of the strongest measures we can take under the Biosecurity Act to protect them," Roger Smith, head of Biosecurity New Zealand, said.

"The decisions we make today on the plan, rules, strategy and agency will be critical to the future of kauri, which are a taonga for Maori and all New Zealanders."

Biosecurity New Zealand is co-ordinating this third and final round of consultation, which follows two rounds held during 2018 that has helped to shape the proposals.

The organism Phytophthora agathidicida (PA), which causes the disease, can be spread on the boots and equipment of people visiting kauri forests. There is no known cure for the disease once a tree is infected. The current approach to managing this spread has mostly relied on voluntary compliance. This will change under a National Pest Management Plan for Kauri Dieback Disease.

It's proposed that the plan be supported by new regulations that will require people to do things such as use approved cleaning stations at tracks, and ensure soil is removed and equipment sanitised when leaving or entering forests. Some landowners may be required to develop kauri dieback management plans and other controls for their properties. Failure to follow these rules could result in fines.

The consultation closes on March 18.

Public meetings will be held in Northland on March 2 at Mangamuka Marae, 9 Iwitaua Rd, Mangamuka, from 9.30am, then Te Ahu Centre, Kaitaia, from 7pm–9.30pm. On March 3 at Otangaroa Marae, Kāeo, from 8.30am then Woodlands Conference Centre, 126 Kerikeri Road, from 7pm–9.30pm.

There will be another meeting on March 4 at Naumai Marae, 4936 SH12, Naumai, from 9.30am. On March 5 there will be meetings at Te Puna o Te Mātauranga Marae, at NorthTec's Raumanga Campus, Whangārei, from 9.30am then at Barge Park Events Centre, 474 Maunu Rd, Whangārei, from 7pm-9:30pm.