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Author: Mels Barton

Post Date: March 31, 2024


Quarterly Update

Expansion into Āwhitu

Kauri Rescue has joined with Ngāti Te Ata, supported by Āwhitu Landcare, to provide assistance and support for landowners with kauri dieback infected trees on the Āwhitu Peninsula. This work is being funded by Tiakina Kauri and Auckland Council, which is enabling Ngāti Te Ata as mana whenua to help landowners improve kauri health within their rohe working in collaboration with Kauri Rescue.
We ran a wānanga (workshop) for 20 attendees in February to pass on our knowledge of the treatment methods and health assessment protocols to the team that will be working on the ground to support landowners. Huge thanks to the Dodd family for hosting us on their beautiful property at Wattle Bay.
Landowners in Āwhitu wanting to join the programme or get a health check for their kauri should sign up on our website. Any locals wanting to volunteer to help the team with this work can sign up here.


Northland Field Days

At the end of February the Kauri Rescue team joined with Te Roroa, Northland Regional Council, Ngāpuhi and Tiakina Kauri to provide a kauri one-stop-shop for attendees to the Northland Field Days event in Dargaville. Waikato Regional Council provided their kauri root zone physical model and we provided information on how to protect and safely manage having kauri on your property to a large number of landowners, some of whom signed up for a kauri health check visit. We are really grateful to Northland Regional Council for coordinating this collaborative stall for us to join. The networking opportunities for working with others actively supporting kauri health in Northland was priceless. We are currently liaising with all parties to ensure that the landowners we signed up will receive a site visit and health check soon.

Te Roroa & Te Kawerau ā Maki Wānanga

In mid February we ran a wānanga in Titirangi to pass on our knowledge and experience to the Te Roroa team that will be supporting landowners in their Northland rohe, which stretches along the west coast of Northland from the Hokianga to Tokatoka in the Kaipara, encompassing at its heart the Waipoua Forest and Kai Iwi Lakes. We were honoured to be welcomed into Te Wao Nui a Tiriwa (Waitākere Ranges) ngahere (forest) by mana whenua Te Kawerau ā Maki, who also participated in the exchange of knowledge. Huge thanks to landowners Linda Friend and Jenny Baldwin who hosted us on their lovely properties.

Guardians of Nature

Landowners John & Sarah Peacock provided the following thoughts on the project which we thought we would share with you:
When we first stepped on the land, where we are fortunate to now live, it was the trees and particularly the magnificent kauri, which drew us to it.
At first the hillside, with over 200 kauri, was just a backdrop for all to see.
However, when a bio-security team established that a number of our trees were infected and that this could spread to others, we resolved to do what we could to help prevent that happening.
The hard working Kauri Rescue team were nothing short of brilliant! They trained us to correctly identify, treat and monitor our ailing trees and provided all the equipment needed.
For us it was time consuming and, being in our 70s was, at times, hard work.
But was it worth it?
Now, almost five years later, we have a sense of pride and satisfaction that we have, in most cases, helped to halt and reverse the die-back.
For we are not owners but guardians of our trees and feel that, like them, we can “stand tall”.”

Re-treatment Strategy

We are close to finalising our Re-treatment Strategy for landowners who treated their trees more than 4 years ago. We plan to trial this with a handful of landowners this autumn and will roll it out more widely in the spring. If you would like your property to be part of the trial please let Mels know.

Thanks to Premier Tapes and Liz Somers

A huge thanks to Liz Somers, one of our landowner participants, who works for Premier Tapes from Henderson who have donated enough rubber gloves to keep us going for at least a couple of years. We use the gloves for handling the phosphite chemical with which we treat the trees, so providing consumables like this saves us valuable funding money. If anyone would like to support our work with donations of any kind please do so via our website.

Sudden Death of Kauri

Throughout spring we were alerted to a number of properties that had experienced the sudden death of one or more of their kauri trees. These trees still had reasonable canopy coverage but had turned completely brown in a very short space of time (a few weeks) and were dead.
We worked with Auckland Council to do some testing and talked with the landowners to establish the context and circumstances of these deaths. The overwhelmingly consistent factor was the flooding and subsequent prolonged boggy conditions that had affected these specific trees over the last 18 months. Some trees were also infected with Phytophthora agathidicida (the pathogen that causes kauri dieback) and/or other Phytophthora species that would have been stressing the trees and affecting their health. However this is not a typical way for trees to die from kauri dieback, which is a much slower starvation. So together with Auckland Council we believe the prolonged wet weather last year would have caused significant feeder root damage in some trees, and as the soil dried out this summer the compromised trees did not have sufficient healthy root system to cope with the stress, and died suddenly.

Monitoring Report in Production

We are in the final stages of producing a report on the Ngā Rākau Taketake funded project to monitor treated trees for 3 years to assess their health response to the treatment. This project has required our participant landowners to reassess the health of their trees annually for at least 3 years and we are extremely grateful for their help and support with that work. We intend to run an online hui to share the results of the work with you all sometime in May.

Thanks to our funders

The Kauri Rescue™ team want to extend a huge THANK YOU to our major funders who have continued to support our project.

The Biological Heritage National Science Challenge Ngā Rākau Taketake: Saving Our Iconic Trees Programme funding supporting our monitoring of previously treated trees for the past 3 years has all but finished. Their funding of our social science project is also coming to a close soon.

Auckland Council’s Natural Environment Targeted Rate and Regional Environment and Natural Heritage Grant funded 12 month contract with us finishes at the end of June 2024 and we are hopeful that they will continue to support our work helping Auckland ratepayers into the future.

Tiakina Kauri continue to support us with a project to work outside the Auckland Region and we hope to have some exciting news to share with you on that project very soon.