Social Science

Humans are thought to be responsible for the most rapid spread of kauri dieback – through being carried in soil on footwear, on tyres, machinery and other gear. Surveillance suggest that spread has been strongly noted near walking tracks.


Effective communication is very important in order to engage with the public and community. Without the support of the community we don’t have a ‘social licence’ to operate (i.e. ongoing approval within the local community and other stakeholders). This makes managing the disease near impossible as everyone who visits a kauri forest needs to do their part in helping us reduce the spread of the disease.

We have done further research into identifying factors that influence people’s responses, perceptions and attitudes towards kauri dieback, and improving how we communicate the key messages in the signage we use.

Behavioural change

To reduce the likelihood of spread by human activities, the Programme is focused on researching human behaviour.

Although there has been a significant increase in the level of awareness of kauri dieback amongst forest users over the years, there is still a large number of people who do not follow the correct hygiene protocols at cleaning stations or keeping to walking tracks. Only a pinhead size of soil is enough to spread the disease. If cleaning stations are not used or incorrectly used, then the disease will spread.

Subsequently, we have developed a number of behavioural change initiatives to determine whether they are effective in improving people’s behaviour at cleaning stations so they use the cleaning stations and use them correctly. 

Some recent research in this area

For a view into the complete library of programme research and reports please see our Science Stocktake.


If you have any questions in relation to this area of research or the supporting reports please contact the Kauri Dieback team on the details below.

Please note that as more information becomes available on the nature of kauri dieback disease and the pathogen that causes it, some of these papers may be superseded.