Dieback starts in the soil, it infects kauri roots and damages the tissues that carry nutrients within the tree. Infected trees show symptoms including lesions that bleed gum, loss of leaves and ultimately the whole tree itself dies.
It is said that the disease was first seen in the Waitākere Ranges in 2007, but has spread to many kauri forest throughout NZ. A cure to eradicate the disease is yet to be found, but spraying with disinfectant & scrubbing soil off shoes helps stop the spread to other trees and soil.
Eru Thompson says, “The kauri is a great icon here in NZ, so within that great iconic look it is hoped that the customary guardians also play a role in its survival.”
The Government plans to invest $15 million in operating funding and $10.7 million in capital funding over four years to combat the disease. Eru Thompson of Te Kawerau-a-Maki says it's a step forward to protect the great icons of the forests.
The money would go towards improving high use walking tracks, boardwalks and hygiene stations, research, surveillance, and co-ordinating a response to the disease.