Kauri Dieback Disease: Help protect our kings of our forest

Kauri dieback disease is having a devastating effect on our giants of the forest. Once kauri trees are infected,they will die because there is no known treatment.

Thinning canopy of kauri trees, Piha, Auckland

Thinning canopy of kauri trees, Piha, Auckland

For the past  30 years, the disease has existed on Great Barrier island off the coast of Auckland however it has recently spread to the mainland, and can now be found in Auckland, Northland and the Coromandel. 

This micro-scopic fungus-like organism (Phytophthora taxon Agathis) can infect kauri of all ages, from seedlings to mature trees.  The disease is spreads from the soil to the roots of trees, making it easily transmissible. 

The only way we can help is by stopping the spread of the disease from infected trees to healthy trees. The disease can be carried in soil on your footwear, when walking near kauri trees and on the feet and the guts of animals.

How to spot Kauri dieback disease 

Look our for Kauri trees with -

Kauri bleeding gum

Kauri bleeding gum

  • Yellow leaves
  • Dead branches
  • Thinning canopy
  • Bleeding gum (pictured) at the base of the tree, which spreads around the trunk to form a collar

How you can help 

  • Don’t walk on kauri tree roots
  • Stay on defined tracks
  • Scrub any soil and mud off your footwear
  • before and after you visit any kauri forest.
  • Keep your dog on a leash so it doesn’t walk on kauri roots
  • Fence livestock out of kauri forests and eradicate wild pigs
  • Report suspected infected trees to the Kauri Dieback Management Team: 0800 NZ Kauri   

For the past five years government agencies have worked to stop its spread through board-walks, pig culling, boot-cleaning stations, education and a phospite injection to slow the spread and 'buy time'.

Despite these efforts, it continues to ravage the forests around the upper North island (including the Coromandel) which is of great concern especially given that it is a keystone species.

Ecosystems have evolved to live on and around kauri. For example, growing kauri creates a type of soil (kauri podzol) that only specialised plants can survive in. These species could become extinct if enough kauri die.

What is Forest & Bird doing? 

Members of Forest & Bird’s North Shore and Waitäkere branches voluntarily maintain cleaning stations on Auckland Council reserves in their areas.

In the Coromandel, members have erected information boards around tracks and branch committee members from Waihi and Mercury bay sit on a stakeholders board to address ways to prevent the spread of the disease. 

To see where kauri dieback has spread see here