Growing frustration among trampers over closure of tracks in west Auckland's Waitākere Ranges

There's growing frustration among west Auckland trampers about the closure of walking tracks in the Waitākere Ranges.

Six years after the implementation of an action plan for kauri dieback, there are calls for a new approach.

But Newshub understands some tracks are set to reopen in the coming days.

Dan Berry and Bruce Wileman became friends because of their love for the Waitaks. Their west Auckland walks rekindled their zest for life.

"Went through some of life's tribulations and ended up healing myself in the Waitaks," Wileman said.

"It's the mental and physical health aspects of getting out into the beautiful forests here that we're kind of missing out on and there are some tracks that are open but it does get very repetitive," Berry added.

They're missing out because, six years after the rahui to protect the forest from the spread of kauri dieback, most of their favourite tracks remain closed.

Berry started the Waitākere Walks tramping group but because so many of the tracks are closed, he's had to change the name to Nature Explorers Group and find new tracks elsewhere.

Their group has protocols to respect the rahui but they're frustrated by what they see as a lack of progress and information.

"I don't think it's good enough. I think it's gone on too long and I think we should really be getting stuck back in and back to the centre," Wileman said.

They see the freedom of the Waitaks as their birthright.

"Absolutely, 100 percent we belong here," Wileman said.

The tracks were smashed again by the big storms and the closures have affected businesses reliant on the tracks.

Some businesses did go under but Robert Bruce, whose company Got To Get Out has a concession for guided activity, also had to go further afield.

"Getting out into nature is incredibly good and important for Aucklanders and for visitors but we have to protect the trees - this is the line that everyone is trying to walk right now," he said.

Ed Ashby's role is to hold that line. As head of Te Kawerau Iwi Tiaki Trust he says he must speak for the forest.

"We want to protect the heart of the forest," Ashby said.

The heart of the forest because the latest study shows good and bad news. There's still no cure for kauri dieback but at least it's in isolated places and moving slowly.

"This pathogen, invasive, introduced but much slower moving than we anticipated and the heart of the Waitākere Ranges is free of that pathogen," said Auckland Council kauri dieback team manager Lisa Tolich.

But other scientists say there's more we can do. Peter de Lange said there's good reason to banish humans but we also need to push predator-free.

"What about the possums, what about the pigs, what about things like hedgehogs, mustelids, rats, they can spread it too and they can do this so we need more work on that," he said.

The iwi's solution is to reopen 90km of track around the edge of the forest, rising eventually to 150km.

"We need to protect the forest because people are loving it to death," Ashby said.

That's because too many people don't want to be told what to do.

"That view has to mature, it has to change at an individual level but when you have 300,000 people all thinking 'I don't have an impact' - you do," Ashby said.

The council's message to trampers: be patient, they are working on the tracks and we can expect some track reopenings throughout the summer.

Correction: This article was amended from an earlier version which incorrectly said kauri dieback was discovered six years ago. Council papers confirm it was discovered much earlier.