Trees have a unique place in our environment. Without them, human life as we know it would not exist. Trees conserve water, make our air breathable, absorb air pollution, support our slopes and form the hub of enormous underground micro-environments that strengthen soil and foster insect life.

Latest News

CLOSE THE RANGES TO SAVE WAITAKERE KAURI

CLOSE THE RANGES TO SAVE WAITAKERE KAURI

The Tree Council, Waitakere Ranges Protection Society and Forest & Bird stand with Te Kawerau a Maki in calling for a rāhui and closure of the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park in response to the monitoring figures from Auckland Council’s latest survey of kauri dieback infection.   The results from the Waitakere Ranges have confirmed their… More

Hurstmere Rd Pohutukawa Saved

The Tree Council has been notified that consent has been refused to remove a scheduled pohutukawa tree at 270 Hurstmere Rd, Takapuna. We made submissions and attended the hearing on 8 June 2017. The tree is one of a group of four scheduled pohutukawa at the property. The commissioners agreed that the tree and its… More

Category Archives: Latest News

CLOSE THE RANGES TO SAVE WAITAKERE KAURI

CLOSE THE RANGES TO SAVE WAITAKERE KAURI

The Tree Council, Waitakere Ranges Protection Society and Forest & Bird stand with Te Kawerau a Maki in calling for a rāhui and closure of the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park in response to the monitoring figures from Auckland Council’s latest survey of kauri dieback infection.  

The results from the Waitakere Ranges have confirmed their worst fears about the spread of kauri dieback. While the average number of trees infected across the entire Waitakere Ranges may be 19% (more than doubled from 8% 5 years ago) the infection in areas where kauri dominates is actually affecting between 33% and 58% of trees.

The Council report states that local extinction of kauri in areas like Piha, where the infection is worst, is highly likely within 5 years unless urgent and drastic action is taken now. Extinction of kauri across the entire Waitakere Ranges is possible within a generation.

It is clear the infection is being spread mainly by people, rather than wild animals, as the majority of the infection is along the track network and worst in the areas with heaviest foot traffic. Compliance by people with phytosanitary measures to scrub and spray shoes, dog feet, tyres and equipment is low and falling.

Auckland Council’s own report states that by continuing to allow recreational use to knowingly spread this Unwanted Organism to uninfected areas the Council is breaching the Biosecurity Act.

The Tree Council and the Waitakere Ranges Protection Society call on Auckland Council to use the precautionary principle and close the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park until they can implement an urgent programme of essential actions required to protect kauri and save them from extinction within the park. The priorities for action are:

  1. Close the Regional Park until the following actions are implemented. This includes closing the Hillary Trail, which is the major source of infection. Tracks with infected kauri can be reopened once protective measures 4 and 5 are fully implemented on those tracks;
  2. Close all tracks to healthy kauri immediately and permanently, or until new knowledge tells us it is safe to reopen them;
  3. Apply enforcement measures to people using closed tracks and publicise these to make an example of those putting healthy kauri at risk;
  4. Accelerate the programme of building boardwalks and “dry” tracks to get people’s feet off kauri roots on tracks;
  5. Implement improved cleaning station design to make avoidance difficult and staff cleaning stations to educate track users about the importance of hygiene measures;
  6. Stop events like the Hillary Trail Marathon taking place on tracks with kauri and move to locations without these precious trees;
  7. Implement a programme of phosphite treatment on public land to keep individual trees alive.

 

“We must take drastic action now” says The Tree Council’s Secretary Dr Mels Barton. “The current measures are not working and infection rates have more than doubled in 5 years as a result of inadequate investment. When the required actions have been undertaken to keep kauri safe then the tracks can be reopened.”

Over recent years Auckland Council has cut the budget for Biosecurity work on kauri dieback and lost key staff. The Tree Council, Waitakere Ranges Protection Society and Forest and Bird consider that there is now an urgent requirement for significant investment by Auckland Council in re-routing and upgrading tracks to keep trampers off kauri roots and the design of the scrubbing stations needs to be significantly improved to make avoidance of the disinfection process extremely difficult. The cost of fully implementing the urgent actions required by Auckland Council will be around $50 million and the Council needs additional government funding to support this work. Enforcement action needs to be taken against people breaching the Biosecurity controls in the park.

“Auckland Council needs to have staff on the cleaning stations as we believe this is the only way to educate the public on how important it is that they comply with the requirements. No one wants to kill our kauri but there is a lot of disbelief in the community that people are responsible for the spread and this needs to be challenged to help everyone understand that they can do their bit to help and it is worth the effort.” says Waitakere Ranges Protection Society President John Edgar.

“Any delay in taking these essential actions now will mean that we lose this species locally because all these infected trees will die and more will continue to get infected. We don’t want to imagine a future without kauri in the Waitakere Ranges” says Nick Beveridge, Forest and Bird’s Regional Manager.

The Tree Council and the Waitakere Ranges Protection Society believe the Government needs to hand over responsibility from MPI to a new community Trust model for managing kauri dieback to work with communities and change attitudes, because delays will result in localised extinction of kauri in the Waitakere Ranges.

“The budget for managing kauri dieback disease needs to be significantly and immediately increased to include ground surveillance work, urgent research into a permanent cure for the disease, public education and phytosanitary measures that actually work” says Nick Beveridge for Forest & Bird.

“MPI’s management of this programme is incompetent and we need to change the model before it’s too late for kauri. Our research shows that people don’t trust MPI and other agencies, but they do trust information they get from community groups, so we have the ability to change attitudes and understanding. People power can save our trees” Mels Barton says.

PRESS RELEASE – for immediate release, 9 August 2017

Image: Greg Presland

Hurstmere Rd Pohutukawa Saved

The Tree Council has been notified that consent has been refused to remove a scheduled pohutukawa tree at 270 Hurstmere Rd, Takapuna. We made submissions and attended the hearing on 8 June 2017. The tree is one of a group of four scheduled pohutukawa at the property. The commissioners agreed that the tree and its… Continue Reading

Plant movement must stop

Plant movement must stop

The Tree Council is calling for the Ministry for Primary Industries to use its powers under the Biosecurity Act and implement a temporary ban on all plant movement across New Zealand to prevent the spread of Myrtle Rust. “In order to contain the disease it is vital for the current outbreaks in Kerikeri, Taranaki, Te… Continue Reading

Warkworth Macrocarpa Saved

The Tree Council has received the decision refusing the application by Warkworth Investments Ltd to remove a scheduled macrocarpa tree from 41 Queen St and 14-16 Neville St, Warkworth. We made submissions opposing the removal and attended the hearing in November 2016. This tree is a member of a group of scheduled trees that form a… Continue Reading

Graham’s Bush Appeal Resolved

Graham’s Bush Appeal Resolved

In a small gully in South Auckland is a botanical gem, a real taonga, a fragment of the lowland podocarp-broadleaf forest that once covered the Manukau lowlands. This fragment is called Graham’s Bush and has been owned and cared for by the late Graham Cheesman and his family for the last 17 years. Thanks to… Continue Reading

Bus Tour of Auckland’s Heritage Trees

Bus Tour of Auckland’s Heritage Trees

Learn about the unique history and values of some of Auckland’s finest trees in their historic settings on The Tree Council’s bus tour, part of the Auckland Heritage Festival. It will be led by Penny Cliffin, a former Senior Lecturer in the Dept of Landscape Architecture at Unitec, and Dr Mike Wilcox, author of Auckland’s… Continue Reading

Appeal of Graham’s Bush Decision

Appeal of Graham’s Bush Decision

Environmental advocacy group The Tree Council has lodged an appeal with the Environment Court against the decision by Auckland Transport to accept the Notices of Requirement recommended by Commissioners on behalf of the consent authority for the Redoubt Road-Mill Road corridor upgrade. “The Tree Council was disappointed that the Commissioners accepted Auckland Transport’s proposals without… Continue Reading

Appeal on Fowld’s Park

Appeal on Fowld’s Park

The Tree Council has joined the appeal by the Friends of Fowld’s Park Inc of the decision of Auckland Council to install an artificial turf with retaining wall and fencing at Fowld’s Park in Western Springs. The proposal will result in the removal of a number of trees, significant alteration of the park’s landscape design… Continue Reading


The Tree Council PO Box 60-203, Titirangi, Auckland 0642, info@thetreecouncil.org.nz, 09 425 9246
© 2012 The Tree Council, website by Dragonfly Design