Iconic trees fall to kauri dieback disease

Press Release – Auckland Council

Two of the kauri that inspired some of the paintings of Colin McCahon are set to be felled after succumbing to kauri dieback disease.Media release
25 January 2013

Iconic trees fall to kauri dieback disease

Two of the kauri that inspired some of the paintings of Colin McCahon are set to be felled after succumbing to kauri dieback disease.

Plans are underway to fell the trees on Tuesday 29 January from McCahon House in French Bay, where a further 23 kauri have tested positive for the disease. The two trees are deemed a safety risk to the road and cottage, and need to be felled safely before they cause damage.

A ceremony to mark this occasion will be held at McCahon House, prior to felling.

The artist lived at the property with his family in the 1950s, and painted many of the 29 kauri there. For this reason, the site is considered one of the most culturally important areas of kauri in Auckland.

The felling will be a delicate procedure to help ensure the disease is not spread further through movement of soil and possibly contaminated tree material.

The felled trees will be used in a study by a researcher from the Kauri Dieback Management Programme to better understand how the disease affects kauri.

As a member of this joint agency programme, Auckland Council Biosecurity has worked with the McCahon House Trust over the last four years to assess the extent of the infection and attempt to contain it. The Council has also been facilitating treatment trials at the French Bay property since August 2012.

“Auckland Council has made considerable progress in managing the disease, and has worked constructively with our partners at the Ministry of Primary Industries, the Department of Conservation, iwi and other councils,” says Parks, Recreation and Heritage Forum Chair Councillor Sandra Coney. “We still have more to learn about the disease and what can be done to halt the death of infected trees and prevent disease spread.”

The McCahon House Trust has pledged support for treatment trials underway at the property, running as part of the Kauri Dieback Management programme. It is also keen to help raise public awareness of the disease.
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Editors’ note:

There is no known cure for kauri dieback, which is known to be present in the Waitakere Ranges, many other areas around Auckland, Great Barrier Island and some forests in Northland, including Waipoua Forest, home to Tane Mahuta and other forest giants.

The research project initiated by the Joint Agency programme will help to determine whether the disease survives in the tree after it has been felled. This will determine whether the timber can be used without risk of spreading the disease. Until these results are known, Auckland Council requires that all parts of a felled kauri tree remain on site.

To keep kauri standing, remember to clean your shoes, tyres and other gear before and after visiting kauri forests, stay on designated tracks and keep off kauri roots. Cleaning stations are strategically placed along tracks in the Waitakere Ranges. To find out more this disease go to www.kauridieback.co.nz

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