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Vintner in fight to save kauri

DELWYN DICKEY
Last updated 05:00 27/11/2012
Coopers Creek

KAURI TEAM: Helping save kauri are, L-R, Coopers Creek cellar door manager John Palmer, Kauri Dieback Programme members Ian Mitchell, Stacey Hill, Nick Farland, and Coopers Creek GM David Nicholas.

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The fight to save our forest giants from kauri dieback has seen vintners Coopers Creek step up to the mark.

The Huapai company's Lone Kauri brand will carry the kauri dieback programme message on its label and feature promotional material at tastings, events and point of sale locations around the upper North Island.

Kauri are found in the upper North Island from around Kawhia Harbour north.

Hundreds have already succumbed to the root fungal disease for which there is no cure.

So getting the message out to the public about the need for vigilance and care around the trees is seen as vital to stop the disease's spread until a control is found.

Coopers Creek is close to the Waitakere Ranges, where many patches of the forest have been decimated. That's one of the reasons to get involved, Coopers Creek general manager David Nicholas says.

"We want to help raise awareness of kauri dieback and encourage forest users to clean soil off footwear and equipment before and after forest visits.

"It's the one simple thing we can all do to help stop the spread of this terrible disease."

The KDB Programme is a joint venture between tangata whenua, the Primary Industries Ministry, Conservation Department, Northland Regional Council, Auckland Council, Waikato Regional Council and Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

Programme member Ian Mitchell is positive about the outcomes.

"Working with Coopers Creek means we can broaden our reach into new communities and help spread the message - not the disease. We are very mindful of being associated with an alcohol product, but after many discussions with Coopers Creek we were convinced that they are a passionate and responsible organisation," he says.

Dieback was first noticed on Great Barrier Island in the 1970s, though not formally identified until 2008. It is believed to be of Asian origin.

Infected kauri have been found in the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park, on private land throughout the Auckland region, and in Conservation Department reserves at Okura, Albany, and Pakiri.

It has also been found in Trounson Kauri Park and Waipoua Forest in Northland, along with the forest plantations of Omahuta, Glenbervie and Russell. It kills kauri of all ages.

Until more is known, the preventative measure of soil removal before and after forest visits is essential.

Other Rodney winemakers are involved with conservation work too.

Ransom Wines at Warkworth, for instance, strongly supports the Tawharanui Open Sanctuary Society Inc (TOSSI) through the sale of K Syrah wine and other initiatives.

Visit kauridieback.co.nz for information.

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- Rodney Times

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