McCahon's Kauri to be cut down

SIMON DAY
Last updated 17:17 25/01/2013
Kauri
DYING OFF: An example of a dieback lesion where resin bleeds from the lower part of the trunk.

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Two iconic kauri trees that inspired paintings by Colin McCahon will be felled after being infected with kauri dieback disease.

The trees, located at the McCahon House in French Bay, West Auckland, will be cut down next Tuesday and a ceremony will be held to mark the occasion. 

A further 23 kauri have tested positive for the disease.

McCahon lived at the property with his family in the 1950s and painted many of the 29 kauri there. 

The site is considered one of the most culturally important areas for kauri in Auckland.

Kauri dieback is a deadly disease caused by a microscopic fungus that infects the trees' roots through the soil and can kill kauri of all ages. There is no known treatment.

The felled trees will be used by a researcher from the Kauri Dieback Management Programme to determine whether the disease survives in the tree and whether the timber can be used without risk of spreading the disease.

Auckland Council Biosecurity has worked with the McCahon House Trust over the last four years to assess the extent of the infection and to contain it. 

The council has also been facilitating treatment trials at the French Bay property since August 2012.

"Auckland Council has made considerable progress in managing the disease," Parks, Recreation and Heritage Forum Chair Councillor Sandra Coney said.

 "We still have more to learn about the disease and what can be done to halt the death of infected trees and prevent disease spread."

The McCahon House Trust has pledged support for treatment trials underway at the property and is keen to raise public awareness of the disease.

To help prevent the spread of the disease clean your shoes, tyres and other gear before and after visiting kauri forests, stay on designated tracks and keep off kauri roots.

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