Pig hunters might pose a threat to kauri trees

Franklin County News - - FRONT PAGE - IMOGEN NEALE Waatea News

Hunua Ranges Re­gional Park has been bombed in 1080 poi­son, is on the en­forced kauri dieback watch with con­di­tions on pub­lic ac­cess, and now there’s a call for a ra¯hui on pig hunters, who can carry spores of the dis­ease in their boots.

Recre­ational pig hunters present the great­est risk to kauri trees in the Hunua Ranges, ac­cord­ing to two Auck­land iwi.

Ngati Paoa and Ngati Whananuga are call­ing a ra¯hui - or tem­po­rary ban - in a bid to pro­tect the park from kauri dieback dis­ease.

Un­like the Waitakere Range in west Auck­land, the Hunua Ranges is cur­rently free of kauri dieback.

On May 1, 10 tracks in the 17,000-hectare south Auck­land re­gional park were closed by the Auck­land Coun­cil to pro­tect healthy kauri in the for­est ar­eas.

A con­trolled area no­tice was put on na­tive for­est tracts in the Hunua park and the ad­join­ing De­part­ment of Con­ser­va­tion-ad­min­is­tered land.

The no­tice re­quires peo­ple to clean their footwear upon en­ter­ing or risk a fine of up to $2000.

Hauauru Rawiri, of Ngati Paoa, has told that pig hunters move from for­est to for­est, and the fear is they will track soil from in­fected forests into the Hunua Ranges.

It’s also likely that Ngati Ta­maoho and Ngai Tai ki Ta­maki would also sup­port the ra¯hui, he said.

The coun­cil’s re­gional parks man­ager, Rachel Kelleher, said Nga¯ti Paoa have con­veyed their pref­er­ence to see recre­ational pig hunt­ing in the Hunua Ranges ceased, with sup­port from Nga¯ti Whanaunga.

‘‘This was noted at the April en­vi­ron­ment and com­mu­nity com­mit­tee meet­ing when the fu­ture di­rec­tion for kauri dieback man­age­ment was be­ing dis­cussed.

‘‘This is some­thing we will be dis­cussing fur­ther with mana whenua,’’ Kelleher said.

The Hunua Ranges is also set to have an ae­rial 1080 poi­son drop this win­ter in a bid to erad­i­cate rats, pos­sums and fer­rets.

The 1080 de­ci­sion was car­ried at an Auck­land Coun­cil en­vi­ron­ment and com­mu­nity com­mit­tee meet­ing late last year.

The last use of the pes­ti­cide in the area was in 2015 at a cost of $541,268.

Dams in the ranges also sup­ply around 60 per cent of the Auck­land re­gion’s wa­ter.

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