Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has welcomed a new partnership which will help to inform Chinese New Zealanders and Chinese tourists about the threat of kauri dieback disease.
Ms Barry joined with the Chinese Conservation Education Trust and the Kauri Dieback Programme to announce the $20,000 partnership at Arataki Visitor’s Centre in Auckland’s Waitakere Ranges last week.
“Highlighting the value of our kauri forests and the threat posed by dieback to these forest giants among all our community – and all visitors to our nation – is a vital part of the work of the Kauri Dieback Programme,” Ms Barry says.
Supported by The Tindall Foundation and Aotearoa Foundation, this is the first community engagement project in the Kauri Dieback Programme. Together the two foundations have donated $480,000 to support community groups and private land owners to protect their kauri and to educate about the dangers of kauri dieback.
“All New Zealanders will benefit if important kauri are protected and the spread of this deadly disease is reduced,” Ms Barry says.
“Chinese New Zealanders, and the increasing numbers of tourists from China, enjoy visiting kauri forests as much as anyone, so it’s important that we ensure they know about the disease and how to prevent its spread.”
Visitors to kauri forests such as those around Arataki can unwittingly spread the spores which cause the deadly disease on dirty or wet footwear and equipment.
“We can only stop the spread of kauri dieback if everyone – government, communities and individuals – works together and takes responsibility.”
Estella Lee, chairperson of the Chinese Conservation Education Trust, says the $20,000 grant will allow the trust to expand its awareness work.
“Through this grant, we will be able to get our kauri conservation messages to far more Chinese people,” Ms Lee says.
Some of the money will be used to lead tours to kauri forests to highlight the disease and explain cleaning practices. The trust will also run competitions and community events to promote kauri dieback awareness.
DOC is investing more than $21.6 million to upgrade tracks through kauri forests, including the installation of 300 cleaning stations, where walkers can ensure their footwear is disinfected.