Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently asked questions about kauri.
Why do we need to protect kauri?
Kauri are a taonga (treasure) of Aotearoa, New Zealand, and the third largest conifer in the world. Living for 600 years on average and growing to immense proportions, kauri are ‘ecosystem engineers’, creating habitats and homes for our native birds, plants, insects, and other native species.
Kauri are ecologically and spiritually significant to Māori, and kauri health is seen as a sign of the wellbeing of the ngahere (forest) and the people.
Growing naturally in Northland, Auckland, Coromandel, Waikato, and the Bay of Plenty, kauri forests used to cover more than a million hectares of Aotearoa. Due to extensive logging in the 1800s, less than 1% of the original kauri forest now remains.
Why are kauri threatened?
Kauri are threatened by a pathogen called Phytophthora agathidicida (PA for short).
The PA pathogen infects kauri trees through their shallow roots and restricts their ability to transport water and nutrients between their roots and their leaves. This causes the condition known as kauri dieback disease, which eventually starves the kauri.
There is no known cure for kauri dieback disease, and there are limited treatment options.
How many kauri trees are infected with the PA pathogen that causes kauri dieback disease?
To date, the PA pathogen has been detected in the Northland, Auckland, and Waikato regions, but we do not yet know how many kauri trees have been infected.
A monitoring and surveillance programme is currently underway to help answer this question.
How does the PA pathogen that causes kauri dieback disease spread?
The PA pathogen spreads through soil/dirt movement, including on:
- Footwear and other clothing/equipment that touches the forest floor.
- Vehicles driven through infected areas.
- Animal hooves/feet - including of wild pigs and stock.
What is the national plan to protect kauri?
In August 2022, a national plan was introduced to help protect kauri from the PA pathogen. The national plan includes ten new regulations which apply to anyone who grows kauri, goes into kauri forests, or lives or works around kauri.
How can I protect kauri?
Below are some of the most important ways we can protect kauri from the PA pathogen. For a full list, read about the national plan for the protection of kauri.
Stay away from kauri roots
- Kauri have extensive, fragile root systems near the surface of the forest floor that extend outwards about 3x the radius of the canopy of the tree. Staying away from kauri roots is vital for keeping kauri safe.
Keep clean when in kauri forests
- Clean your footwear and any gear that will touch the floor of a kauri forest, so it is free of dirt/organic matter before you enter and leave.
- Stay on wooden or gravel tracks or gravel roads.
- Use all hygiene stations you come across to clean your footwear, so it is dirt-free.
- Keep dogs on a leash and ensure your dog’s paws are clean before entering and after leaving the forest.
Don’t move soil/dirt around kauri
- Moving soil/dirt or dirty water around kauri may unintentionally spread the PA pathogen.
Respect track closures and rāhui (protective restrictions)
- Track closures and rāhui are put in place to give kauri space to grow and/or to allow for tracks to be upgraded so that they do not interfere with kauri root systems. By respecting track closures and rāhui you are helping to protect healthy kauri and avoid causing further damage to diseased kauri.
Keep wild and farm animals out of kauri forests
- Animals must not be released into kauri forest areas.
- Anyone who has farm animals within 500m of a PA positive site in a kauri forest must ensure their stock cannot access that kauri forest.
- Where possible it is recommended that stock are kept away from kauri trees on farmland.
Grow kauri safely
- Anyone growing kauri must follow a kauri plant production plan to reduce the risk of spreading the PA pathogen throughout New Zealand. Read more about growing kauri.
How will the regulations of the national plan be applied?
A range of approaches will be used to encourage and support people to meet the requirements of the new regulations. This will be before any enforcement actions are undertaken, except in cases of clear and continued non-compliance.
Enforcement options include the issuing of an infringement notice, with a fee of up to $400. An individual or corporation could also be charged under the Biosecurity Act 1993, which could result in a criminal conviction with a maximum fine of $5,000 for an individual or $15,000 for a corporation.
What research is being done to find a treatment/cure for kauri dieback disease?
The Minister of Research, Science and Innovation has invested $29.5 million into funding research to combat the infection and spread of the PA pathogen, which causes kauri dieback disease, through a Strategic Science Investment Fund (SSIF) platform called Ngā Rākau Taketake.
Ngā Rākau Taketake research explores both Western-based and mātauranga Māori-derived solutions to protect kauri and enhance the resilience of forest ecosystems.
Tiakina Kauri also has a science plan, and many universities and Crown Research Institutes are working on projects directly related to this plan. Various funders support this work including the Royal Society Te Apārangi, the Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai, Tiakina Kauri and New Zealand universities.
There is no cure or established treatment yet for kauri dieback disease, but by following the actions listed above and in the national plan, we can all help protect kauri from the PA pathogen.
IF YOU HAVE KAURI ON YOUR PROPERTY
What symptoms of kauri dieback disease should I look out for?
There are several physical symptoms of kauri dieback disease, including:
- Yellowing leaves throughout the canopy
- Bleeding gum, especially at the base of the tree
- Thinning canopy
- Dead branches.
Learn more about how to identify dieback disease.
What do I do if I have sick kauri on my property?
If you have sick kauri on your property, you must report it. If you live in the upper North Island (Northland, Auckland, Waikato or the Bay of Plenty), report it to your regional council. If you live outside the upper North Island, report it to Tiakina Kauri. Here is contact information for the relevant organisations in each region.
Can I plant new kauri trees on my property?
Yes, new kauri trees can be planted on your property. However, check that you are buying kauri plants that have been grown according to a kauri plant production plan. This is a requirement under the national plan and will ensure that the kauri plants you buy have not been infected with the PA pathogen.
Note: the easiest way to ensure kauri plants have been grown safely is to buy from growers who are Plant Pass certified and have completed both the Plant Pass Core Standard module (“CORE”) and PA (Kauri) Schedule module (“KDB”). An up-to-date list of these nurseries is available here.
Information about how to plant and care for your kauri trees can be found in the Kauri Care Guide.
How does the national plan apply to me?
If you have kauri on land you live on or own, an overview of the regulations that may apply to you are available here: Land and stock owners
Can I still hunt and control pests?
Yes – controlling wild animals in kauri forest areas is important for the protection of kauri. Wild animals can carry soil/dirt contaminated with the PA pathogen and spread it to healthy kauri trees.
To help protect kauri while carrying out pest control, please ensure that all hunters/trappers:
- Do not hunt/conduct pest control in wet weather.
- Stay away from kauri root zones: the area extending approximately 3x the radius of the tree’s canopy.
- Always clean footwear and equipment so it is dirt-free when moving between kauri root zones.
- Stick to wooden and gravel tracks/roads as much as possible.
- Avoid placing traps within kauri root zones.
- Dispose of dead animals away from kauri root zones.
ABOUT TIAKINA KAURI
Who is Tiakina Kauri?
In 2021, the Government provided $32 million of funding over five years (2021-2026) to Biosecurity New Zealand for kauri protection. This led to the establishment of Tiakina Kauri, the kauri protection team based within Biosecurity New Zealand.
Tiakina Kauri partners with mana whenua and works in collaboration with the Department of Conservation, Northland Regional Council, Auckland Council, Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Waikato Regional Council to implement the national plan for kauri and invest in kauri protection activities.
How does Tiakina Kauri allocate funding for kauri protection activities?
Tiakina Kauri engages with mana whenua working in the ngahere (forest) and, with their permission, partners with them to identify kauri protection initiatives. Tiakina Kauri also works with its collaborating organisations in local and central government to identify kauri protection initiatives.
All applications for funding are assessed, with recommendations sent to the Tiakina Kauri Governance Group for final consideration before the funding is approved or declined.
All funding is distributed according to four investment Pou (funding pools), which are directly connected to the objectives of the national plan, as below:
- Building capability and capacity of mana whenua to lead kauri protection locally.
- Increasing monitoring of, and aerial surveillance over, kauri forests to support strategic kauri protection decisions.
- Leveraging knowledge between mātauranga Māori, research and operational management.
- On the ground kauri protection mitigation works including the development of guides, policies and standards to help protect kauri from the disease caused by the PA pathogen.
What role do mana whenua have in protecting kauri?
Tiakina Kauri aims to support mana whenua to protect kauri in their forests and to build capability and capacity among mana whenua to lead operational plans to protect kauri.
How can I contact Tiakina Kauri?
For general enquiries, email: email@example.com.
For media enquiries, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.