by Kevin Hague
Tane Mahuta, lord of the forest. A tree that is truly magnificent, along with Te Matua Ngahere, father of the forest, who is our second largest Kauri. Estimated to be over 2000 years old, this means that it is possible that it lived through the large Taupo eruption of 180CE. Both trees grow in the Waipoua Forest in Northland. As early as the late 1940s there was a campaign to save some of the remaining Kauri Forest in Northland into the protection of a National Park. Unfortunately the Forest Service (replaced by DoC and the NZ Forestry Corporation in 1987) was both canny, and somewhat more preoccupied with protecting the forests under its possession so that they could be harvested than preserving our crown jewels. They moved before support would have seen the creation of a national park and created the Waipoua Forest Sanctuary. Wouldn’t it be great to see the early work of Roy McGregor finished with Waipoua gaining National Park status? Currently we have no National Parks in the far North and Waipoua would seem to be the ideal candidate to remedy that.
While DoC ponders the National Park Question our great Kauri are under threat. Kauri dieback , caused by a fungus-like plant pathogen, is threatening our greatest trees. While the exact origin of the disease is unknown it is likely that it’s like Didymo a foreign invader. As our climate changes we need to be prepared to mitigate and prevent more pests, invasive species and diseases gaining a foothold in New Zealand. That is why we want to see more effort invested into becoming more proactive with our biosecurity.