The BioHeritage Challenge is leading development of the programme, known as Ngā Rākau Taketake – Saving our Iconic Trees. Its development follows the announcement of new investment, with the focus being to accelerate work already being done by Government agencies, councils, research providers, Māori and interest groups.
Kauri dieback is threatening Aotearoa New Zealand’s taonga (treasured) kauri with extinction, and myrtle rust is threatening many iconic native species as well as plants important to primary industries. More knowledge is urgently needed to underpin future approaches and tools to fight the two pathogens.
The name Ngā Rākau Taketake reflects the historical connections Māori and other New Zealanders have with our kauri and myrtaceae trees. Taketake refers to the permanence of that relationship. This programme aims to protect and restore that relationship and connection.
Leading development and implementation of Ngā Rākau Taketake are BioHeritage Challenge Strategic Leadership Group members Dr Nick Waipara, of Plant & Food Research, and Dr Maureen O’Callaghan, of AgResearch. Nick is heavily involved with New Zealand’s kauri dieback response, while Maureen has extensive experience in leading large, complex research programmes.
Kauri dieback is a disease that has killed hundreds, possibly thousands, of the taonga (treasured) trees in the North Island, and threatens the unique and ecologically important kauri ecosystem. New Zealanders have strong emotional and cultural attachments to kauri and the loss is having a major impact on our communities.
This project contributes towards BioHeritage’s goal of helping to create a world-class biosecurity system for New Zealand.