A Far North community that pitched in to save an ancient forest from possums and rats now has a new enemy to contend with – kauri dieback.
Warawara Forest in north Hokianga has been bouncing back after a 1080 poison drop last spring and intensive trapping on surrounding farmland. But scientists have now confirmed the presence of the kauri killing disease, kauri dieback.
Te Rarawa people have worked hard to protect the forest that Dame Whina Cooper once described as holding the spirit or soul of the tribe.
But the ancient forest – with its colonies of native bats, and a remnant rifleman population – is surrounded by farmland, with little or no pest control.
As the years passed more and more kiwi have disappeared because of pests – possums, rats, stoats, feral cats and dogs.
In a collaborative effort between Department of Conservation (DoC), nine local marae, Te Rarawa’s runanga and the Northland Regional Council last summer, that decline was dramatically reversed.
The 1080 drop, the ongoing pest control, and a brilliant summer transformed the Warawara.
But with the discovery of Kauri dieback the partners are facing a new challenge.
The Warawara Kaitiaki Komiti has placed a rahui (ban) on people using the Puapua track to the forest, in a bid to limit the spread of the kauri killing diease.