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Fresh round of aerial checks for kauri dieback

A new round of aerial checks for kauri dieback disease is due to get underway shortly, this time over the Coromandel Peninsula, Hauraki and central Waikato.

It follows a series of flights last year which targeted western areas of the region. The latest surveys, between 23 January and 28 February for Waikato Regional Council, will be using a fixed wing plane.

“Kauri dieback has already been found in our region on the Coromandel Peninsula at Hukarahi and within the Whangapoua Forest,” said biosecurity officer Kim Parker.

“This latest round of checks is about casting our net wider, from Hamilton to the Hunuas across to the Coromandel, and down to the Kaimais. On such a large landscape kauri dieback symptoms are more easily spotted from the air, so an aerial survey is the most efficient way for us to check the state of health of stands of kauri. It’s crucial that we stop the spread of this crippling disease which attacks our amazing kauri trees.”

Kauri dieback is caused by a microscopic fungus-like organism called Phytophthora agathidicida. The disease infects kauri roots and damages the tissues that carry nutrients and water within the tree, basically starving the tree to death. Other kauri dieback symptoms include bleeding around the roots and lower trunk. It kills kauri of all sizes, from the smallest of seedlings to the mightiest of giants. Once a tree has the disease there is no cure.

The latest surveys will be carried out for the council as part of the National Kauri Dieback programme, and involve co-operation with the Ministry for Primary Industries, the Department of Conservation, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, and Auckland Council.

A kauri dieback expert will be looking for yellowing leaves, canopy thinning and/or dead branches. The survey will be carried out over approximately five days from late-January to the end of February. The exact dates will depend on suitable weather conditions. People in the surveyed areas may notice a plane flying in a grid and from time to time it could circle.

Any questions about the survey can be directed to 0800 800 401. Further information on kauri dieback is also available at www.kauridieback.co.nz(external link).

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