The Tree Council, Waitakere Ranges Protection Society, Forest & Bird and the Friends of Regional Parks are delighted that Auckland Council has worked constructively and in partnership with Te Kawerau ā Maki to agree the final shape of the closure of the Waitākere Ranges.
This closure, which takes effect from 1 May 2018, reflects respect for the rāhui placed by Te Kawerau on 2 December and is intended to protect kauri for future generations. All forested areas of the Regional Park will be closed apart from a limited number of 31 kauri safe tracks (attached). These tracks have been subjected to a joint audit by Te Kawerau, Auckland Council Biosecurity and Parks staff and are jointly agreed to currently meet the standard of the Controlled Area Notice of “no soil on footwear” so that they can remain open.
Te Kawerau and Auckland Council remain in discussions regarding 2 further tracks and anticipate further “rolling openings” in future as tracks are upgraded to meet the standard.
“We would like to thank Auckland Council for working in genuine partnership with Te Kawerau ā Maki regarding the details of the closure” said The Tree Council’s Secretary Mels Barton. “We hope this is the start of a constructive and productive relationship based on mutual trust and respect and care for the protection of our forests.”
“People using the open tracks must remember that they will be required to comply with all hygiene precautions by using cleaning stations effectively to ensure they have no soil on their footwear in order to comply with the Controlled Area Notice provisions” said Waitakere Ranges Protection Society President John Edgar. “Monitoring and enforcement by Auckland Council will be in place to ensure this happens from 1 May.”
“It is really important that everyone sticks to the track surface and never go off track” says Forest & Bird’s Regional Manager for Auckland Nick Beveridge. “In fact we encourage everyone to stay away from all kauri forests throughout New Zealand until similar upgrades have been made in order to protect kauri and the rest of the forest ecosystem for future generations.”
“Anyone wanting to work in the forest can apply for a warrant to do so from Te Kawerau ā Maki” says Forest & Bird Waitakere Chair Annalily van den Broeke. “This system is already working well to ensure warranted workers are complying with all the precautions needed to protect kauri and continue with our important work to control pests.”
Anyone wishing to help keep tracks open by joining the Waitākere Rāhui Audit team can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or via the Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/waitakererahui/