Local Iwi of the Waitakere Ranges, Te Kawerau ā Maki, have placed a rāhui on the forested area of the Ranges also known as Te Wao Nui o Tiriwa. A rāhui is a customary prohibition that bans or restricts the use of an area for a period of time for the purpose of conservation or in some cases by contamination associated with death.
The purpose of this rāhui over the Waitākere forest, is to prevent and control human access until effective and appropriate research, planning and remedial work is completed to ensure the risks associated with kauri dieback disease are neutralised or controlled. Kauri are an iconic and taonga (treasured) species for the people of Aotearoa and particularly to Te Kawerau ā Maki and other local iwi, who regard kauri as a living ancestor.
EcoMatters supports the rāhui and stands with Te Kawerau ā Maki. EcoMatters has a warrant with Te Kawerau ā Maki to carry out conservation activities in the Waitākere Ranges Heritage Area adhering to strict standard operating procedures when working around kauri ecosystems.
Kauri dieback disease is killing our kauri trees. Kauri dieback is caused by a microscopic water mould called Phytophthora agathidicida. This mould is new to science and spreads through soil and water. It can survive in dried soil, on boots, and on equipment for up to 8 years (and counting) and it only takes a pinhead of soil to transfer them to a new site. One of the most significant vectors of the disease is the distribution of soil and mud transported on the footwear of people. By closing the regional parkland to people it is hoped to minimise this risk. A 2017 Auckland Council report has shown the disease to have almost doubled over the past 5 years.
Toitū te whenua a Tane, Toitū te whenua o Tangaroa, Toitū te iwi. If the domain of Tane and Tangaroa are healthy, the people will be healthy.