29 Jan 2013

Care urged to avoid spreading kauri disease

9:19 pm on 29 January 2013

A conservation group is urging people to be responsible when visiting forests to help avoid the spread of kauri dieback disease.

Two kauri at the artist Colin McCahon's house in west Auckland were cut down in a ceremony on Tuesday after the native trees contracted the disease which kills the roots, causes bleeding and thinning out of foliage.

Ian Mitchell, spokesperson for the Kauri Dieback Programme, said anything that comes in contact with soil is at risk of spreading the disease.

He is asking people to stay on designated tracks and clean shoes and equipment after visiting kauri forests.

Mr Mitchell said the area around the McCahon property is particularly badly affected with the disease.

Colin McCahon's daughter Victoria Carr and representatives from the McCahon house trust were in attendance on Tuesday.

Mr Mitchell said the kauri had inspired some of his paintings and the trust is interested in keeping pieces of the trees as artworks.