Published: 5 November 2018
In May this year, significant closures were implemented in the Waitākere and Hunua Ranges regional parks. Controlled Area Notices (CANs) were also put in place across the currently open tracks within the forested area of the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park and the whole of the native forested area of the Hunua Ranges regional parkland.
“Kauri dieback disease is one of the most complex biosecurity threats that we have been faced with,” says Auckland Council Regional Parks Manager Rachel Kelleher.
“The scale of the closures in the Waitākere Ranges is unprecedented in this country and reflects how seriously Auckland Council is taking kauri protection.
“As with any large-scale closure, we have challenges to work through and we’re taking an adaptive approach and continue to learn as we go. The Waitākere Ranges Regional Park has about 90 formal entry points and nearly 200 tracks, which presents a range of challenges.
“Our team has been working incredibly hard on progressing protection measures and our programme has expanded since the introduction of the $100 million natural environment targeted rate in July.
“We are at the beginning of a 10-year journey for this investment, and in the last four months have progressed some significant work including track upgrades, new hygiene stations, signage, physical barriers, video monitoring and compliance officers.
“Managing signage in parkland is always challenging, and unfortunately they do go missing. We remind Aucklanders to please get in touch with the council directly if they do notice any missing signage or damage to barriers.
Education of visitors the initial focus
“In terms of compliance in the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park, our initial focus has been on educating people about their obligations as a visitor.
However, as we move into the summer months and park visitors increase we will be taking a stronger approach to enforcement and will be formally following up with people where robust evidence exists.
“It’s important to acknowledge the current efforts of Aucklanders and other park visitors to comply with the layers of regulation that currently exist in the park. Our officers have been heartened by the high levels of compliance that they have observed, and the genuine desire to do the right thing. We thank you for working alongside us to follow the rules and protect kauri.
“We’ll be ramping up our work over the summer months with an increased team of 20 ambassadors working alongside our compliance officers and boosting our communications to ensure that Aucklanders are know what to do.
“Together with Aucklanders, community groups and our partners, we’ve got an opportunity to really make a difference here. We’ve got more work to do, but we’re committed to the fight against kauri dieback.”