Minister of Conservation Nick Smith said the Government was seriously worried about the discovery of the disease in the Whangapoua Forest in March, and how widespread it could be.
“Kauri trees are hugely important for New Zealand and we need to do everything possible to contain the kauri dieback or PTA disease.
“The part that makes it so important is that if you’ve got a similar disease, like Psa with kiwifruit, you can grow new vines in three years. But when you’ve got a thousand-year-old kauri tree, if you lose it, you lose it for 30 or 40 generations.”
During a surveillance programme the disease has been found only at two sites: the Whangapoua Forest and on private land.
It is believed to have been spread by the Forest Service during the establishment of the commercial pine forest at Whangapoua.
Kauri dieback is caused by a microscopic, fungus-like organism that damages the tree’s tissues and effectively starves it to death.