Lucky for us Kiwis, the sights that tourists come to ooh and ah at, we see every day. Living in Aotearoa, snapping an Instagram pic and low-key showing off to your international buds how awesome your home is, is pretty damn easy. Whether it is our beaches, forests or landscapes, New Zealand’s sights are among our country’s most valued treasures. But, before you go about your walking and hiking there's something you really need to know: kauri dieback has become a very serious problem and our environment is increasingly vulnerable.
We know that here at The Urban List, we like to let you in on the best of openings and lighten up your newsfeed with updates on where you can take the odd hip-hop yoga class. However, if we don’t help to prevent kauri dieback, there’s a possibility of a breakdown in our ecosystem.
There’s a lot of talk about it, but the important thing is to understand what kauri dieback actually is and how we can help. Essentially, it’s a disease that is caused by microscopic organisms called Phytophthora taxon Agathis (PTA). Which we totally understand is a mouthful and can be a little confusing. What you need to know is that it has the ability to kill kauri and nearly all infected trees die.
“It’s a ripple effect,” says Waitakere Ranges Local Board Deputy Chair, Saffron Toms. “Kauri is an ecological species that supports even more than we know. If we lose it, we lose a whole ecosystem."
Here at The Urban List, we recognise that we all have a responsibility to care for nature.
“Everyone enjoys the outdoors and everyone needs to be working together to protect our forests,” says Saffron.
So, what can you do? The Auckland Council funds a kauri dieback community coordinator, Christine Rose, who works with and empowers kauri dieback ambassadors, helping them to be a part of the solution. There are many ways to be involved, whether it is becoming an ambassador yourself, donating so that we can continue to search for a cure, volunteering in kauri dieback programmes or just by following the proper protocol when visiting the New Zealand environment.
The dieback has doubled in the last five years and is sacred to Maori. And, last month, 200 members of Te Kawaerau a Maki announced a rahui (exclusion zone) across the entire park. While there is no statutory power to enforce the rahui, but with the risk to our environment and our almighty kauri, it's best to stay away.
* UPDATE: The Auckland Council has decided to close the forested area of the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park.
“The current approach that council is taking is not working, for a variety of reasons, chief of which is the acceptance of Aucklanders," says mayor Phil Goff. "This decision sends a much stronger message that leaves no room for confusion,” he says.
This closure will take effect by May 1 2018.
Spread the word and enjoy our beloved kauri from your screen ONLY so our home continues to be “Insta-worthy” but also so that we can continue to be proud of where we live and how we treat our country #kiwisunite.