A significant chunk of Auckland’s Waitākere Ranges will be closed to the public from May 1st in a bid to control Kauri dieback disease. Kauri dieback is caused by the pathogen hytophthora agathidicida, which is able to sense and locate a Kauri tree’s roots. The disease is easily spread – most commonly by infected soil attached to people’s shoes – and cannot be seen to the naked eye. Because there is no cure for Kauri dieback, the disease is threatening the very existence and future of New Zealand’s special native tree.
To reduce its spread, Auckland council closed 44 tracks across the Waitākere and Hunua Ranges in December 2017. In February, the council’s environmental committee proposed closing a much larger number of tracks in both ranges. Council members have now voted in favour of the proposal, taking into consideration the feedback of more than 800 local people and business owners.
The decision means that as of next month, all forested areas in the Waitākere Ranges and a significant number of high-risk walking tracks in the Hunua Ranges will be closed to the public. A number of selected tracks which pose very little risk to the spread of kauri dieback will remain open.