More Auckland parks being shut due to kauri dieback

If you're planning on going for a weekend walk in the bush you might find yourself shut out as contractors work to block off a raft of tracks.

Another 29 parks are being closed or partially closed as authorities battle to stop the spread of kauri dieback.

Auckland Council says it's a temporary measure to protect healthy trees and reduce the risk of exposure.

The Alice Eaves Scenic Reserve in Orewa is just one of those which have been closed off to the public this week.

"I'm sad, because it's such a beautiful piece of bush, there are up to 1000 kauri" says Laurie Rands from the Eves Bush Appreciation Society.

"We've got an 800 year old kauri in there, we have to protect it, so it's sad but we have to do something about it we can't sit on our hands any more."

Tracks or local parks currently set for full or partial closure to protect kauri are in the Rodney, Hibiscus and Bays, Waitākere Ranges, Henderson-Massey, Ōrākei, Papakura, Upper Harbour, Howick and Waiheke local board areas.

Dirt tracks will be upgraded while the parks are closed to make them 'kauri safe'.

The pathogen is spread through the movement of contaminated soil and better tracks means less mud on our shoes, and less spread.

"It's a short term pain for a long term gain, so that at the end of the day we'll have a far better track network," says Hibiscus and Bays Local Board chair, Julia Parfitt.

At the last count, 20 percent of the trees in the Waitakere Ranges were affected.

But it can be 15 years before the symptoms are visible, so the real number is likely to be much higher.

"Surveillance is entirely reliant right now on detecting points of interest or diseased trees, but that doesn't necessarily reflect the actual distribution and we'll only know that over time."

Last week's Budget included more than $20m to tackle kauri dieback.  But there is no cure.

So far there's no confirmed disease at Eaves Bush, and Rands wants it to stay that way.

"Alice Eaves gifted this to New Zealanders in 1960, and we just need to protect it, that's the bottom line, we have to protect it."


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