Kauri are one of the longest-living trees in the world. They only grow in New Zealand, and are of huge cultural importance to New Zealanders. But kauri trees are threatened with extinction by a disease that is spread between trees by people carrying tiny amounts of contaminated soil on their footwear and other gear.
- Clean all soil off your footwear and other gear (including hiking poles, clothing and bags), every time you enter or leave a forest area. This is to avoid introducing kauri dieback disease to a new area, or moving it from an area where the disease is. A pinhead of soil is enough to spread the disease. Do not use water (including stream water) to clean, unless it will be captured in a sewer, for instance – the pathogen that causes dieback is a water mould, and is activated by water.
- Use disinfectant only after you have removed all the soil. Spray it on all the areas that have come into contact with the ground.
- Don’t go off-track for any reason (including to hug a kauri!). A kauri’s roots are extremely delicate, grow close to the surface, are susceptible to disease, and can grow outwards 3x as far as a tree’s branches).
- If you use hiking poles, use rubber feet on your poles to minimise the amount of soil your poles pick up.
- Never assume anywhere is free of kauri dieback. Infected trees may not show it.
- Spread the word within your networks about the need for visitors to help stop the spread of kauri dieback. Everyone has a part to play in saving kauri.
About kauri dieback
The pathogen that causes kauri dieback is microscopic, ‘smart,’ and tough. It can infect new trees even after being without a kauri tree host for at least six years. When near kauri trees, it can sense where a kauri tree’s roots are, and then ‘swim’ towards them through the soil. It kills most if not all kauri trees it infects, of all ages.
Kauri trees grow throughout the upper North Island; if you’re in natural forest and you’re in the upper North Island, it’s likely you’ll be near kauri trees.
People are the main way that kauri dieback disease is spread, through the movement of contaminated soil. But by taking the time to clean your footwear and other gear, responsible visitors like you are helping save kauri, along with the rest of the community.
Click here to go to the Department of Conservation’s walking and tramping pages.
Click here to go to Tourism New Zealand’s walking and hiking pages.
Click here to be linked to homepage of Te Araroa Trail.
Updated March 2017
The information in this guide is intended to be general information. It is not intended to take the place of, or to represent, the written law of New Zealand or other official guidelines or requirements. While every effort has been made to ensure the information in this document is accurate, the Ministry for Primary Industries (and any of their employees or agents involved in the drafting of this guide) do not accept any responsibility or liability for any error of fact, omission, interpretation or opinion which may be present, nor for the consequences of any decisions or actions based on this information.
The Ministry/The Kauri Dieback Programme itself and on behalf of all the persons mentioned above, clarifies that it has no control over and is not responsible for the contents of any pages referenced or accessed from this guide other than pages provided by the Ministry/The Kauri Dieback Programme. Any hyperlinks to other Web sites imply neither responsibility for, nor approval of, the information contained in those other Web sites on the part of the Ministry/The Kauri Dieback Programme.