Recently, a rāhui has been put in place over the ranges by the iwi Te Kawerau a Maki, and a further closure of the Waitakeres by the Auckland City council. We are allowed to use the roads, the visitor centre, beaches and flat land surrounding beaches. However, we are asked not to use other tracks.
As of the club committee meeting of December 2017, it was voted that AUTC will respect the rāhui. This means that no club trips will go through the Waitakere ranges; club events such as O-camp will go to other locations. The exception for this is club baiting trips, for which we have been granted special permission by the iwi.
Kauri Dieback is caused by Phytophthora Agathicida, a fungus-like pathogen that attacks plant root systems and eventually kills infected plants. It spreads through movement of contaminated soil; mostly by humans, and has no known cure. More info can be found here.
In 2017 the council released a report which found that the number of kauri with the disease has doubled in the past 5 years, reaching about 20% of all kauri in the Waitakeres. It also found human activity as the main source of spread.
What is a rāhui?
In short, a temporary ritual prohibition placed over an area for its protection. We’ve seen them before, for instance, the rāhui over the area surrounding Te Maari crater on Tongariro following its eruption in 2012. More info can be found here.
In short, we can’t use the Waitaks for the foreseeable future.