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Ed Sheeran

Kauri dieback fight brought home

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A grant from the Government's Biological Heritage National Science Challenge Challenge will help scientists, communities and iwi tackle the silent killer devastating kauri forests.

Dr Nick Waipara, the Maori kaihautu of the challenge’s science leadership group, says the area affected by kauri dieback has doubled since the last survey, with the pattern of infection showing the parasite that kills the trees is being carried in the soles of shoes and on bicycle tyres.

The project will recruit private landowners to work alongside scientists to treat their own trees with a chemical called phosphite, which is similar to the treatment used by apple and avocado growers.

There is also scope to identify and test matauranga Maori methods.

Dr Waipara says a lot of landowners including Maori landowners have been struggling to get on top of the problem.

"This disease isn't just out in the nahere. It's in people's front yards. We're looking at big beautiful trees people have grown up with dying in front ofm tehri eyes. This funding gives an opportunty for those landowners to be part of the research and take some action and work with the scientists and actually become scientists and look at their own trees," he says.

Initial research indicated the infection can be stopped if trees are treated.

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