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Waiau Kauri Grove

Waiau Kauri Grove & Waiua Falls

Travel +-6km south from Whitianga town and turn right into the 309 Road. Travel a further 13.5km along the 309 Road and you will find, the start of the walk on the right hand side. Please take care to wash your shoes with the spray provided to prevent Kauri dieback (see text below) . These Kauri trees have been protected for over a hundred years and are truly magnificent. The track is well marked with footbridges and boardwalks, an excellent easy walk for tree lovers taking only 10-15 minutes.

The entrance to Waiau Falls is a little further on with parking on the left side of the road.

What is Kauri Dieback

Phytophthora agathidicida, the pathogen that causes kauri dieback, was only discovered in 2009, and formally named in 2015 (previously it was known as Phytophthora taxon Agathis). The pathogen can sense a kauri tree’s roots, and swim towards them using a tail-like flagella.

There is no cure for kauri dieback, and the disease kills most if not all the kauri it infects. It can be spread by just a pinhead of soil, and you can't tell by looking whether a tree is infected or not. Kauri dieback is threatening kauri with functional extinction. But kauri will be saved – by people like you. 

How Can we save the Kauri

- Keep a cleaning kit in your vehicle that includes brushes, an adequate supply of Sterigene, and plastic bags for bagging any gear that can’t be cleaned on- site. To avoid spreading contaminated soil inside your vehicle, pack a second pair of footwear for the drive home.

 - Clean all soil off your footwear and other gear (including hiking poles, clothing and bags), every time you enter or leave an area with native trees. This is to avoid introducing the disease to a new area, or moving it from an area where the disease is. A pinhead of soil is enough to spread the disease. Do not use water (including stream water) to clean, unless it will be captured in a sewer, for instance – the pathogen that causes dieback is a water mould, and is activated by water.

- Use disinfectant only after you have removed all the soil. Spray it on all the areas that have come into contact with the ground.

- If you are running, clean your gear before you do any stretching, so you don’t risk injury by allowing yourself to cool down. Likewise, do your post-run stretches before the cleaning stations. Be prepared to encounter cleaning stations on route, and use them.

- Avoid going off track, and going near kauri - unless the track is board-walked (a kauri’s roots are extremely delicate, are susceptible to disease, and can grow outwards 3x as far as a tree’s branches).

- Carry a brush and disinfectant at all times (Sterigene is available for purchase from most vet clinics) if you are going to be going off track, if you are using tracks that do not have cleaning stations, or if you will be crossing multiple catchments. If possible, clean your gear between catchments; i.e. between – but not in - rivers or streams, or between valleys.

- If you use hiking poles, use rubber feet on your poles to minimise the amount of soil your poles pick up.

- When you’re buying new footwear, consider how easy it will be to clean - is there a better option?

- Never assume anywhere is free of kauri dieback. Infected trees may not show it.

- Spread the word within your networks about the need for walkers, runners, and trampers to help stop the spread of kauri dieback, and be seen doing the right thing. Everyone has a part to play in saving kauri.

- If an area has been closed or is protected by a rahui, do not use it. Closures are only made when the risk of spreading the disease from an area is extremely high, or because that area is at extraordinary risk.

The 309 Rd

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