We’ve had a busy start to the new year – collating and developing funding proposals, planning an aerial surveillance and monitoring pilot in Puketi Forest, and continuing preparations for the implementation of the National Pest Management Plan (NPMP).

Underpinning all our activity is our commitment to the Te Tiriti o Waitangi partnership. Our objective is to lead kauri protection in partnership with Māori at all levels.

Moving forward with kauri protection

E te whānau whānui o te Kauri, Tēnā koutou katoa

Ko te kauri he whakaruruhau mō nga Iwi Katoa – The kauri is a shelter for all people

Kia toitū te whenua – So that the land endures

Kia toitū te kauri – So that the kauri endures

New ‘Tiakina Kauri | Kauri Protection’ brand

You may have noticed a new logo at the top of this newsletter.  Our new programme identity – Tiakina Kauri | Kauri Protection – reflects the movement of this programme away from the use of the word ‘dieback’, towards language that promotes the health and protection of kauri.  The Tiakina Kauri brand embodies the new energy, values and direction of our programme, while reflecting our mission, which is:

“Just as kauri roots entwine with others to protect the health of the forest, we work together to protect and preserve our kauri lands for future generations.” 

We are gradually rolling out the Tiakina Kauri brand across our channels, merchandise and communications collateral.  Thank you to all those who contributed to the new logo design and brand messaging.

Tell us what you think of our website

We are trying to understand how our current website (kauriprotection.co.nz) is being used.

If you have 5 minutes, please complete this short website survey to let us know how often you visit our website, and what information you are looking for when you visit. 

Your answers will remain private and will be valuable in helping us to develop a new website for Tiakina Kauri over the coming months.  

Governance group

At their recent meeting our governance group approved allocation of the remaining $4 million of kauri protection funding for this financial year, which enables us to progress our work programme.  Read on for more details about some of the projects that the funding is supporting.

Tiakina Kauri and the governance group are committed to appointing three more Māori representatives and one community representative to the governance group in 2022, so an active search is underway.

Tiakina Kauri team

I am pleased to announce the appointment of David Fern as our new Regional Relationship Manager – Agencies.  Previously part of the compliance team at Northland Regional Council, David brings a wealth of local government experience to Tiakina Kauri.  David is based in Whangarei, and he will focus on accreditation, compliance and local government.

We are sorry to farewell Ian Mitchell, who has resigned from Biosecurity New Zealand following a year’s sabbatical.  Ian was involved with the kauri dieback programme for many years, and we wish him well.

Ian’s departure creates a permanent vacancy in Tiakina Kauri, so we are currently advertising for a Regional Relationship Manager - Monitoring, Audit, Evaluation and Reporting.  This position could be based in the Waikato, The Coromandel, Auckland or Tauranga.  For more details, see the job advertisement: Regional Relationship Manager - Monitoring, Audit, Evaluation and Reporting.

We also have two very capable contractors helping us through this busy period.  Chris Kane is leading process development in relation to the implementation of the NPMP and Jess Maccagno is helping with the delivery of marketing, communications and engagement projects.

National Pest Management Plan (NPMP)

The Parliamentary Counsel Office is currently drafting the National Pest Management Plan (NPMP) into an Order in Council, which will be signed by the Governor General.  MPI’s policy staff are working closely with them on this process, which includes ensuring that the NPMP aligns with – and does not duplicate – existing legislative requirements.  This process may result in changes to some of the proposed NPMP rules, but the policy intent and provisions of the NPMP remain unchanged from those proposed in 2019. 

The NPMP requires an operational plan to be signed off by the Minister.  As such we are now starting work on the National Operations Plan, which will be built from the ground up over the coming months with contributions from regional groupings of mana whenua, councils, the Department of Conservation (DOC), and others.  This plan will provide the opportunity to set the overall strategic direction for the next five years and provide a clear pathway for how the NPMP will be implemented.

We expect the NPMP to enter into force in mid-2022.

Funding allocations

The governance group recently approved further funding allocations for kauri protection activities according to our four investment Pou, as follows:

Pou 1: Building capability and capacity of mana whenua – to lead kauri protection locally: $559,000
Pou 2: Increasing knowledge to underpin management through enhancing surveillance and monitoring: $2,384,132
Pou 3: Building rapport and leveraging research efforts – so that management decisions are well directed by science: $505,000
Pou 4: On ground mitigation works and development of guides, policies and standards – to prevent movement of the pathogen and protect the trees and involvement of people: $579,000

Of these funding allocations, $1.1 million will fund surveillance activities, including both aerial surveillance – which aims to determine the distribution of kauri and visualise canopy stress, and ground surveillance – which aims to test soil and assess tree health in order to understand the prevalence of the pathogen Pa and the disease. This work is based on the work Auckland Council and Te Kawerau a Maki have done in the Waitakere Ranges.  Four different approaches are being deployed across a sample of forests throughout kauri lands.  These approaches will be evaluated by a new Technical Advisory Group, who will bring standardisation, co-ordination and consistency to future surveillance work.  We will provide more information about the Technical Advisory Group in our next newsletter.

$1.3 million has been allocated to mana whenua groups in Tai Tokerau to both support the Pou 2 surveillance and to build the capability of mana whenua.

$505,000 has been allocated towards funding seven research projects that will provide support for management actions and help fill current gaps in knowledge around: phosphite dose rates and efficacy; pathogen detection and eradication tools and technologies; long-term kauri population growth and decline; and change interventions for forest users.  This work is identified within both the Science Plan and the National Pest Management Plan as being required to protect kauri, and it will help to deliver the NPMP objectives and support the on-ground work.

Pou 4 funding is being provided to the QEII National Trust to support rural landowners to protect stands of kauri on private land.  Combined with work by DOC and regional councils, this means that private land also benefits from the funding.

Puketi Forest, Northland – pilot site for monitoring and surveillance

This month we begin trialling a monitoring and surveillance programme in Puketi Forest in partnership with mana whenua. The aim of the programme is to define baselines around kauri and pathogen distribution and disease prevalence, and to determine the drivers of the disease and of kauri forest decline.

To do this we have held a number of wananga with whānau, including kaumatua hui and open days, to ensure whānau are part of the planning.  The funding provided for surveillance activities is the starting point in creating baseline knowledge of kauri from both a mātauranga and western science basis, which will inform management activities and empower mana whenua to lead the groundwork.  

The Puketi Forest work will guide how we implement future monitoring and surveillance activities in collaboration with hapū in other significant forests across kauri lands.  Kauri health will benefit from the support of Māori and western knowledge streams.

Online hui

We had planned to hold roadshows in kauri lands during March to provide an update on Tiakina Kauri, the NPMP and to introduce our team.  Due to covid-related travel constraints we are now planning online hui in April instead.  We will send details of these hui separately in the coming weeks, and we encourage you to attend if you are interested.

Wrap up

It has been a busy time as we re-establish leadership in the kauri space.  The NPMP is yet to land, and we are currently working through the implications of the new regulations with those who will either be impacted or have new responsibilities.  The development of the new National Operational Plan is a great opportunity to capture views of what is needed for kauri from the ground-up.  The work co-designing management actions with Māori is exciting, and it is inspiring to feel the energy and passion of mana whenua. Our associated agencies (regional councils and DOC) are making great progress with the funding allocated to them earlier in the financial year.  Once completed, the aerial surveillance will provide the information needed to inform management actions, which will begin to fill a significant gap that has hampered past work in the kauri space.

Ngā mihi,

Alan McKenzie – Manager, Tiakina Kauri | Kauri Protection