From 1 July, Auckland Council will be closing 13 "kauri protection zones" in Waitakere Ranges Regional Park to protect kauri from kauri dieback.
On 5 April, the council’s Regional Development and Operations Committee endorsed a recommendation from the Parks, Recreation and Heritage Forum to isolate 13 areas or "kauri protection zones", which involves closing 27km of tracks in the ranges.
Areas protected are those where tracks run through kauri stands that appear to be unaffected by kauri dieback.
"We are adopting a precautionary approach to protect this iconic species, which defines the Auckland region," says Councillor Sandra Coney, chair of the Parks, Recreation and Heritage Forum.
"The aim is to stop spread but also to protect unaffected areas for the future recovery of kauri in the ranges.
"We are also responding to widespread community concern that efforts so far have not halted the spread of kauri dieback. We have tried to ensure there is still plenty of scope for visitors to the Waitakere Ranges to be able to walk and tramp.
"There are over 250km of tracks in the ranges, so there are alternative routes and it does not affect the Hillary Trail.
"We are also awaiting a report on the Hunua Ranges Regional Park that will allow us to consider a similar approach in the south, in an area that appears to be unaffected by the disease altogether.
"All of the local boards have shown a tremendous amount of support for protection measures in their local parks as well," she says.
Waitakere Ranges kauri protection zones are in the Cascade Kauri, Anawhata, Waiatarua, Piha, Karekare, Huia and Parau areas.
These zones will be closed from 1 July 2012 and this management approach will be reviewed in 12 months to assess its effectiveness.
"There are many unknowns with this disease," says Councillor Coney.
"While our researchers and scientists work to understand more about how it is spread and whether a vaccine or cure can be found, we have an obligation to look after vulnerable areas.
"I urge all visitors to our region’s parks to help us by staying out of quarantined zones, and on open tracks to be scrupulous in cleaning their footwear and to use the cleaning stations provided on the parks."
The Auckland Council is part of a joint agency programme to Keep Kauri Standing, which includes iwi, DOC, regional councils and MAF Biosecurity NZ.
The following tracks (or sections of these tracks) will be closed from 1 July 2012: