Kauri dieback spreads to a city park on Auckland's North ShoreKauri dieback is suspected to have spread to a park in a bushy suburb just north of the bridge on Auckland’s North Shore.

A track at Chelsea Estate Heritage Park has been closed by Auckland Council, as a precautionary measure, while investigations are carried out on a kauri tree that may be infected.

“The tree is showing signs of decline; however, we cannot be 100 percent sure of infection until the test results come back,” Auckland Council biosecurity manager Phil Brown said.

In January, Brown said, while the disease was likely to have spread across the Shore, it was positive Birkenhead was free of the disease.

Visual inspection of the tree was inconclusive but there was a strong possibility the kauri was infected with the disease, Brown said.

“As a precautionary measure, we have closed this track, which is accessed from Blundell Place in Birkenhead, immediately, while we await confirmation from the lab and develop a plan for managing this response,” Brown said.

Signage was installed to close the track on May 4 and additional footwear-cleaning measures for the Chelsea Park area were being assessed.

Soil samples have been taken from around the tree, and where expected to confirm, in early June, whether the tree had been infected.

“From what we know about the incubation period for this disease, if it is in fact infected, this tree may have been in decline for some years, yet not necessarily showing any visible signs of infection,” Brown said.

Brown previously acknowledged kauri dieback had been present in the North Shore for about eight years.

“It has been here a long time. We don’t know for certain where it has come from, all we know is suddenly it has spread rapidly,” Brown said in January.

Albany Scenic Reserve and Okura Bush were the most readily identified areas on the North Shore with the disease, but it may have spread, Brown said.

Kauri dieback is a type of fungus that gets into tree roots and over time can kill the tree.

The tree in question was found during the council’s out track surveys that have been rolling out across the north of the Auckland region in recent months.

Auckland Council advises visitors to kauri forests to clean their footwear and equipment before entering kauri areas and after leaving.

The council has been conducting a survey of kauri dieback across Auckland with results due back soon.

Article published in North Shore Times
Published 04 May 2018