Signs warn of kauri pro­tec­tion area

Coastal News - - News -

Six new road signs have been erected in the Coro­man­del to alert trav­ellers they are en­ter­ing a a “kauri pro­tec­tion area”.

The ini­tia­tive, which would be rolled out in the Waikato and other re­gions, was part of the on­go­ing cam­paign to save the na­tional taonga from dieback disease.

The signs in­form road users they are en­ter­ing a kauri pro­tec­tion area, and re­in­force the need to clean footwear and equip­ment when en­ter­ing and leav­ing kauri forests. More signs would also be rolled out to other kauri re­gions in fu­ture.

“The pur­pose of the signs is to help build a stronger mes­sage around the im­por­tance of fol­low­ing the clean­ing steps when any­one vis­its kauri lands,” says John San­son, Man­ager of Re­cov­ery and Pest Man­age­ment for Biose­cu­rity New Zealand, which co­or­di­nates the na­tional Kauri Dieback Pro­gramme along­side part­ner agen­cies.

“This is be­cause peo­ple are still the big­gest fac­tor in spread­ing the disease, through con­tam­i­nated soil be­ing col­lected on boots and gear.

“We know through our be­havioural re­search to date that while there is gen­er­ally a high level of aware­ness of the threat of kauri dieback disease, un­for­tu­nately this does not al­ways flow through into peo­ple do­ing the right thing when they visit kauri forests,” Mr San­son says.

“The new signs give a more di­rect mes­sage that if peo­ple are stop­ping to en­joy our kauri forests, they need to al­ways clean their footwear and equip­ment if we are to en­sure kauri will still be around for the next gen­er­a­tion of visi­tors.”

Six of the signs have al­ready been placed along high traf­fic lo­ca­tions in parts of the Coro­man­del, while two of the new signs are due to be placed at en­try points to North­land’s Waipoua For­est on along State High­way 12, home of Ta¯ ne Mahuta and other iconic trees. It is hoped that more signs can be rolled out across other kauri re­gions pend­ing fur­ther dis­cus­sions with the NZ Trans­port Agency and other stake­hold­ers.

“Thanks to the sup­port of the Trans­port Agency, we’re able get this first batch of signs up in time for the busier sum­mer pe­riod when typ­i­cally more peo­ple are on the road and vis­it­ing kauri lands.”

Mr San­son says the signs are one small part of a much wider on­go­ing pro­gramme of work be­ing co­or­di­nated by the kauri dieback part­ner­ship, which in­cludes the De­part­ment of Con­ser­va­tion, Tan­gata Whenua Roopu, Te Roroa iwi, Auck­land Coun­cil, and the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and North­land Re­gional Coun­cils.

“The work pro­gramme to fight kauri dieback is con­tin­u­ing across many fronts, which in­cludes ini­tia­tives such as up­graded tracks and clean­ing sta­tions in high use ar­eas, track clo­sures, on­go­ing aerial sur­veil­lance, test­ing and field tri­als, and con­tin­ued in­vest­ment in science and re­search.”

Fur­ther re­search is planned this sum­mer by Biose­cu­rity NZ and DOC to bet­ter un­der­stand what de­signs and sig­nage most ef­fec­tively drive com­pli­ance at clean­ing sta­tions.

These re­sults will pro­vide valu­able in­sight to all pro­gramme part­ners and com­mu­ni­ties in de­vel­op­ing their wider com­mu­ni­ca­tions and be­havioural change tools.

‘The new signs give a more di­rect mes­sage that if peo­ple are stop­ping to en­joy our kauri forests, they need to al­ways clean their footwear and equip­ment if we are to en­sure kauri will still be around for the next gen­er­a­tion of visi­tors.’

— JOHN SAN­SON, Man­ager of Re­cov­ery and Pest Man­age­ment for Biose­cu­rity New Zealand

PHOTO / SUP­PLIED

New road signs call­ing on trav­ellers to help bet­ter pro­tect kauri are be­ing erected in the Coro­man­del.

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