17 Feb 2018

Volunteers to discourage visitors from Waitakere Ranges

10:41 am on 17 February 2018

Around 50 volunteers will be out in the Waitakere Ranges this weekend, urging visitors to walk elsewhere to prevent the spread of kauri dieback.

Kauri in the Waitakere Ranges

Kauri in the Waitakere Ranges Photo: RNZ / Sally Murphy

The area has been placed under a rāhui by local iwi Te Kawerau ā Maki and Auckland council has closed dozens of tracks in an attempt to stop the disease spreading.

Several environmental groups, including Forest and Bird and the Tree Council have organised for volunteers to 'adopt-a-track' and stand at track entrances to explain to visitors about the rāhui.

Tree Council secretary Mels Barton said volunteers will be helping to clear up any confusion around the rāhui and track closures.

She said every person who opted not to walk in the ranges was helping reduce the risk of kauri dieback spreading.

"Just normal people having conversations with the people turning up that probably know nothing about the rāhui, just to educate them a little bit about what it is, why it's so important and ask them if they would please next time go somewhere else for a walk."

Te Kawerau ā Maki executive manager Edward Ashby said the event was about the community standing up to protect their environment.

"Anything people want to do to protect the ngahere is good with us."

Auckland Council's Environment and Community Committee will meet next week to consider taking action for kauri dieback once again.

Councillors have previously voted in favour of keeping the range open, with some commenting that it would be impossible to stop people entering the park even if it was closed.

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