Having reviewed the 2017 Waitakere kauri dieback report, it was really apparent that there were more questions than answers – in summary from my detailed assessment of that report (which recent developments are now making less central to the full evaluation of actions required)

Refer here to a summary of Auckland area track closures as at December 2017

The report is available at this link

Selected Information From and Commentary on the Report

  1. Muddy and wet tracks are most conducive to soil borne spread – track upgrades in kauri areas should be a high priority
  2. The report classifies the area as “track zone” as the area within 50m of a track – BUT how many track users leave a track by more than 1-2 meters ? Beyond that, surely, the soil disturbers would principally not be humans ?
  3. Tre track network is around 40 hectares, then there are baitlines and informal / old tracks, out of a total park area of 16,000 hectares – how thoroughly have the non tracked areas been assessed for kauri dieback symptoms ?
  4. Ongoing lack of visitor compliance (with cleaning stations) and problems with design efficacy have resulted in the (current) phytosanitary stations being ineffective in mitigating ongoing spread of kauri dieback
  5. In the areas where 27km of tracks were closed in 2012, the rate of kauri dieback infection has grown at the same rate as the rest of the Park. Some people still use these tracks …..


  1. How much of this is new news, that wasn’t known 5 years ago ?
  2. What positive benefits have the last 5 years of track closures produced for those areas ?
  3. Why hasn’t the last 5 years seen a major upgrade of the wet and muddy tracks in kauri areas ?
  4. How much of today’s kauri dieback infection would have been present but not detectable between 2011 and now ?
  5. Why are tracks closed temporarily 5 years ago now being decommissioned altogether ?
  6. Why are more tracks being closed now when the report notes that the past track closures haven’t worked ?
  7. In referring to the Council’s classification map of high, medium, and low risk tracks, a number of the recent specific closure and non closure decisions are curious – what are the criteria applied for closing …. or not closing … a track ?
  8. From recent media reports, kauri dieback has been around for a lot longer than previously reported. What other factors (EG climate change, high rainfall periods) may have contributed to it continuing its currently unstoppable increase ?
  9. Given the way in which the disease spreads, and the delay in displaying symptoms, and the lack of improvement over the last 5 years (and more), is it now too late to stop it ?
  10. Are there comparable figures for kauri dieback infection between the Waitakeres Park and adjoining private land ?
  11. In relation to all track closures and the rahui in general
    1. What specific actions will now be taken to minimize the period of the closure / rahui ?
    2. What specific progress measures and targets will be implemented for regular publication ?
  12. How are closures to be publicized and enforced so that information reaches all potential park users ?
  13. Will there be an option for organised recreational groups to obtain an operational permit to continue controlled recreation in the Park ?

The Waitakeres are a major recreational asset of great benefit for the health of people of the Greater Auckland area, and beyond. There is no substitute that provides anywhere near the same accessible recreational capability. It is important that positive measures are taken now to sustain this for future generations. Indefinite closures and track decommissioning will not achieve that.

Tony Walton


Auckland Tramping Club

027 478 5223 / 09 630 2591