How I can help save kauri when walking my dog

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

  • Clean all soil off your own footwear and other gear – every time you enter or leave an area with native trees. Clean all soil from within the recesses of your dog’s paws and from their coat before entering a kauri forest and after leaving the forest the dog should be cleaned at home to remove any soil from their paws and coat. This is to avoid transferring the disease to new areas, or spreading it more widely in already affected areas. Just a pinhead of soil is enough to spread the disease.
  • At home, use clean water and a dog-friendly soap or shampoo to thoroughly wash all soil off your dog’s paws and coat. Sterigene should not be used on the paws.
  • Keep your dog on a lead at all times. One of the
    main ways the disease is spread is through transfer
    by people – and also animals. So please stick to the
    track and avoid going near kauri – including the roots – unless the track is board-walked. A kauri’s roots are extremely delicate and grow close to the surface, so are particularly susceptible to disease. The roots can also grow outwards three times as far as a tree’s branches.
  • Keep a cleaning kit in your vehicle. This should include brushes, an adequate supply of Sterigene for your own boots and gear, 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.
  • Only use disinfectant on your footwear and other gear after you have removed all the soil; spray it on all the areas that have come into contact with the ground. Note that disinfectant should not be sprayed onto a dog’s skin or paws.
  • Don’t walk your dog if the track is going to be muddy. The disease is spread more easily in wet conditions.
  • If your favourite walking track has been closed – do not use it. Closures are only made when the risk of spreading the disease from or to an area is extraordinarily high.
  • Never assume anywhere is free of kauri dieback. Infected trees may not show it. Even if you only ever use the same route, clean your gear – and your dog – both ways, every time.
  • Spread the word within your networks about the need 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 naturally occur throughout the upper North Island (in the Northland, Auckland and Waikato regions, and in parts of the Bay of Plenty); if you’re in natural bush and you’re in the upper North Island, it’s likely you’ll be near kauri.

People (and the animals they manage) are the number one way in which the disease is spread, through the movement of contaminated soil. But responsible dog owners 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 email 

Click here to visit the Department of Conservation’s ‘Dog access on public conservation land’ page. This includes information on where dogs can be taken.

Click here for Auckland Council’s dog pages.

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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