Pig hunters might pose a threat to kauri trees
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.