Auckland Council has introduced new protection measures in the Hunua Ranges to protect kauri from kauri dieback disease.
The council’s Regional Development and Operations Committee yesterday endorsed a recommendation from the Parks, Recreation and Heritage Forum to create kauri protection zones in the Hunua Ranges - including the Hunua Ranges, Waharau and Whakatiwai regional parks.
Councillor Sandra Coney, Chair of the Forum, says there is currently no evidence of kauri dieback disease in the Hunua Ranges and this approach is aimed at keeping Hunua kauri trees healthy.
"We have seen the devastating effect that kauri dieback is having in other parts of the region and in the upper North Island and this is our opportunity to protect Hunua kauri while we can.
"By isolating areas of kauri and implementing appropriate controls and management practices we hope to prevent the spread of the disease to this part of the region," says Cr Coney.
Councillor Ann Hartley, Chair of the Regional Development and Operations Committee, says this initiative was fast-tracked to allow implementation to get underway by 1 September.
"The sooner we can get this work underway, the better chance we have of protecting these groves of iconic trees," says Cr Hartley.
The Hunua Ranges will be zoned into five classifications. The classification determines the level of public access, management and phytosanitation measures required for kauri dieback control in that area.
The classifications are:
Non kauri zones - kauri dieback phytosanitation measures in place
Intensive kauri management zones - strict recreation management, intensive phytosanitation, high quality track maintenance and high levels of public education
Kauri protection zones - quarantine zone, permit-only entry and strict phytosanitation for essential park work
Kauri buffer zones - recreation limited to track-only with strict monitoring
Waytemore Forest Reserves - no public access
Protection measures will include:
Closure of some tracks
Re-routing of tracks to avoid kauri areas
Track upgrades and higher maintenance standards
Increased phytosanitary measures (e.g. footwear cleaning stations)
Increased public awareness and education
Restrictions on public access to some areas
There will continue to be ongoing monitoring of kauri health in the Hunua Ranges and the effectiveness of kauri protection zones will be reviewed in 12 months.
This initiative follows a similar programme to establish kauri protection zones in the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park, which came into effect on 1 July this year.
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