How you can help save kauri as a mountain biker

Kauri dieback disease is killing one of Aotearoa/New Zealand’s taonga (treasures) – our unique kauri forests. But kauri will be saved … with the help of people like you.  

  • Keep a cleaning kit in your vehicle that includes brushes, an adequate supply of Sterigene (which is available from vet clinics), and plastic bags for bagging any gear that can’t be cleaned on-site. To avoid spreading contaminated soil inside your vehicle, pack a second pair of footwear for the drive home.
  • Carry a brush and disinfectant on your ride too.
  • Clean all soil off your tyres, frame (including recesses), clothing, bag, accessories and footwear, every time you enter or leave an area with native trees, and as you enter a new catchment. This is to avoid introducing the disease to a new area, or moving it from an area where the disease is. A pinhead of soil is enough to spread the disease. Do not use water (including stream water) to clean gear, unless it will be captured in a sewer, for instance – the pathogen that causes dieback is a water mould, and is activated by water.
  • Use disinfectant only after you have removed all the soil; spray it on all the areas that have come into contact with soil.
  • Only ride on designated mountain bike tracks. These should avoid going near kauri wherever possible (a kauri’s roots are extremely delicate, are susceptible to disease, and can grow outwards 3x as far as a tree’s branches). If an area has been closed or is protected by a rahui, do not use it. Closures are only made when the risk of spreading the disease from an area is extremely high, or because that area is at extraordinary risk.
  • Never assume anywhere is free of kauri dieback. Infected trees may not show it.
  • Spread the word within your networks about the need for mountain bikers to help stop the spread of kauri dieback, and be seen doing the right thing. Everyone has a part to play in saving kauri.

About kauri dieback

The pathogen that causes kauri dieback is microscopic, ‘smart,’ and tough. It is possible for it to survive at least six years on footwear or equipment. It can sense where a kauri tree’s roots are, and then ‘swim’ towards them through the soil. It kills most if not all kauri it infects, of all ages.

Kauri grow throughout the upper North Island (in the Northland, Auckland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions); if you’re in natural bush and you’re in the upper North Island, it’s likely you’ll be near kauri.) 

People are the number one way in which the disease is spread, through the movement of contaminated soil. As you know, a mountain bike can collect a lot of mud. But by carrying out some basic preparation, responsible mountain bikers like you are helping save kauri, along with the rest of the community.

Click here for a PDF version of this guide. For more information go to, email, or call 0800 NZ KAURI.

Click here to go to the Department of Conservation’s mountain biking page.


Updated March 2017


The information in this guide is intended to be general information. It is not intended to take the place of, or to represent, the written law of New Zealand or other official guidelines or requirements. While every effort has been made to ensure the information in this document is accurate, the Ministry for Primary Industries (and any of their employees or agents involved in the drafting of this guide) do not accept any responsibility or liability for any error of fact, omission, interpretation or opinion which may be present, nor for the consequences of any decisions or actions based on this information.

The Ministry/The Kauri Dieback Programme itself and on behalf of all the persons mentioned above, clarifies that it has no control over and is not responsible for the contents of any pages referenced or accessed from this guide other than pages provided by the Ministry/The Kauri Dieback Programme. Any hyperlinks to other Web sites imply neither responsibility for, nor approval of, the information contained in those other Web sites on the part of the Ministry/The Kauri Dieback Programme.

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