We would like to take this opportunity to explain to you why The Tree Council is supporting the rāhui about to be placed on the Waitakere Ranges by the mana whenua Te Kawerau a Maki to protect kauri against kauri dieback.
The purpose of the rāhui is to remove people from the area to prevent further spread of the disease until effective protection methods are in place, such as boardwalks and upgraded hygiene cleaning stations.
Auckland Council’s Monitoring Report (Aug 2017) showed that the spread of kauri dieback had more than doubled in the previous 5 years and that humans are the main vector. We are lobbying Auckland Council and the Government to invest sufficient funding to upgrade the track network and cleaning stations so that visitors are no longer at risk of spreading the disease.
The rāhui is a temporary closure until these upgrades can be completed and the tracks can be reopened on a rolling programme.
The Tree Council has debated long and hard over this issue but we feel that the protection of the values of the park is of paramount importance. In the case of the Waitakere Ranges and Hunuas this is the natural environment and the ecosystem of kauri forest, which is at so much risk from this devastating disease.
For that reason we would like to respectfully ask that you and/or your group respects this rāhui by please not tramping on the Waitakere Ranges tracks until the rāhui has been lifted and by asking all your members, relatives and friends to please tramp in other places without kauri until effective protection for kauri is in place in the Waitakere Ranges.
The rāhui will be put in place by Te Kawerau a Maki this Saturday 2 December at 7am at the Cascades near the Auckland City Walk. Te Kawerau a Maki and The Tree Council invite you to join us for the ceremony and urge you to do so. Showing public support for the rāhui is extremely important for us to get the message out to the wider public to encourage their understanding and support to help protect kauri.
More information about the rāhui can be found at www.tekawerau.iwi.nz
Attached is a map showing the extent of the rāhui which covers the whole of the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area (all of the forest within the green and light green areas).
We thank you sincerely for your understanding and support.
Please share this message with your networks.
Sean Freeman, Chair The Tree Council.
You can hear an interview with Dr Mels Barton about kauri ecosystem, kauri dieback and why the rāhui is necessary here.