A generous donation towards protecting our native kauri tree from the ravages of kauri dieback disease has been welcomed by Conservation Minister Maggie Barry.

Sir Stephen Tindall and Julian Robertson will contribute $480,000 over the next three years through their Tindall and Aotearoa Foundations, targeted at protecting kauri.

$100,000 a year will go towards landowner’s efforts to stop livestock spreading the spores which cause the disease to kauri on their land. It will also fund public education and practical efforts such as hygiene stations at track entrances.

A further $60,000 a year will be used to support local kauri protection groups in their efforts, including iwi, schools and community organisations.

“I would like to personally thank Sir Stephen Tindall and Julian Robertson for their contribution to the battle against dieback,” Ms Barry says.

“It is a fine example of philanthropic partnership joining forces with the Department of Conservation and Ministry of Primary Industries to help protect our natural taonga.”

“Kauri are a national treasure and an iconic part of our landscape,” Sir Stephen says. “Unless we take urgent action to stop the spread of this deadly disease, kauri trees could be completely wiped out.”

“We are very pleased to support this initiative and in particular to work in partnership with the Aotearoa Foundation and the Government to help protect and preserve kauri for future generations.”

Mr Robertson says he was pleased the Aotearoa Foundation could make a contribution.

“What would New Zealand be without its Kauri trees?”

The funding comes in addition to the Government’s $26.5 million commitment to combating kauri dieback announced in Budget 2014.

“Dieback is a major threat not only to kauri but also to the plants and animals which have evolved to live around them,” Ms Barry says.

“It will take more than Government departments to win this battle and it is only by joining forces with iwi, community groups and philanthropists that we can ensure these magnificent trees survive. Sir Stephen and Mr Robertson’s generosity will help us in that fight.”