Myrtle Rust Update #1

30th of May 2017

Myrtle Rust was discovered in Kerikeri on the 3rd of May, New Plymouth on the 17th of May, Te Kuiti on the 21st of May, and in Te Puke on the 12th of June. Currently there are 60 confirmed sites including: 13 in the Bay of Plenty, 4 in Northland, 40 in Taranaki, and 2 in Waikato. It has been detected on Ramarama, Pohutukawa, Monkey apple, Mānuka and Eucalyptus.

Te Tira Whakamātaki submitted the below paper (during May) to MPI for consideration in their update to Cabinet.


The incursion of myrtle rust disease was officially confirmed at a Kerikeri plant nursery on 3 May 2017.  Since then the presence of myrtle rust in Northland, Taranaki and Waikato has also been confirmed. Since 2016 Te Tira Whakamātaki - the Māori Biosecurity Network have been informing Māori about high priority biosecurity risks like myrtle rust via a series of regional hui and position papers.  From these hui a clear message emerged that Māori needed to be active participants in decision-making and implementation of plans for the management of this and other pests and diseases.


This paper outlines Māori responses that are consistent with the strategic directions of Biosecurity 2025 of 'respecting and protecting the environment and taonga has been inherent in Māori cultural practices for more than five centuries through tikanga and kaitiakitanga’ and concomitant with New Zealand biosecurity, as a whole, effectively discharging its responsibilities and obligations to Māori, the Biosecurity Act (1993) and Te Tiriti o Waitangi.


In collaboration with Māori a national strategic decision making framework should be developed and implemented that; a) prioritises affected regions to focus resourcing and effort on local eradication, containment and long-term management of re-incursions; b) is committed to long-term ecological monitoring; c) is ‘future-proofed’ to protect our taonga seeds (seed banking); and d) responsive to future climatic vehicles (e.g., cyclones). Importantly this framework will be underpinned by:

  1. A clear understanding of the complexities of the relevant Māori landscape relating to myrtle rust and the key strategic priorities for Māori.
  2. Management plans for myrtle rust that meaningfully engage all relevant Māori parties, e.g. tangata whenua (iwi, hapū and whānau), Māori commercial interests and Māori community rōpū.
  3. Facilitating the contribution of Māori biological knowledge (mātauranga), expertise and praxis (tikanga) to innovate and support management of myrtle rust across all layers of the biosecurity system for all future scenarios.
  4. Implementing a transparent and broad communication process between relevant Government Departments/Agencies and Māori that is effectively and efficaciously providing and receiving knowledge, information, methods and strategies that will give effect to a Māori led priorities, solutions and management of myrtle rust .
  5. Strong and equitable partnerships with Crown Departments/Agencies that are ensuring wider benefit and support for the outcomes that affect Māori.

Needs, Resources & Time frames

Māori engagement and participation will occur at all stages of the response. The resourcing required by Māori to contribute to the primary outcome is described based on three scenarios: Eradication, Containment, or Long-Term Management. Te Tira Whakamātaki is firmly of the view that resourcing for Māori research and engagement priorities should be managed by a neutral and trusted partner. The New Zealand’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge was identified as having good Māori capability and an appropriate level of independence and credibility.

Needs Relevant Scenario* Resource Requirement Relevant Scenario*
Māori must be part of the governance at all levels including advisory groups such as science advisory groups and diseased site management for the duration of the management programme. E, C, LT Financial, operational and personnel support for Māori to be active partners and remain part of the governance and advisory groups for the duration of the response. E, C, LT
Iwi Māori inclusion in all management and advisory aspects of any government-led eradication/containment scenario/future long term management programme. E, C, LT Financial and operational support that ensures Māori are included within all aspects and workstreams for any government-led eradication/containment scenario/operational management programme. E, C, LT
Mana whenua leading or supporting rohe-centred eradication/progressive containment/long-term management programmes especially around sites of significance such as mahinga kai, wahi tapu and urupā. E, C, LT Financial and training support that builds capacity and capability for Māori-led or co-led eradication/progressive containment/long-term management programmes in the regions. E, C, LT
Engagement and information sharing hui and wānanga, and knowledge sharing platforms (media and IT). E, C, LT Financial support for engagement and information sharing hui and wānanga, and knowledge sharing platforms (media and IT). E, C, LT
Tools for eradication, detection, control and prevention as well as policy tools (e.g. iwi management plans, pathway management plans, cultural management systems including restrictions such as rāhui) prioritised and developed in conjunction with Māori. E, C, LT Māori are part of the decision making and funding prioritisation for tool development to ensure that they are inclusive of Māori views and include Māori led tools, specifically those that give effect to mana whenua pest management plans and ensure myrtle rust is managed via fully resourced, takiwā- (regionally-) based management units. This is to ensure that knowledgeable kaitiaki or citizens can work closely with central and local government to see that myrtle rust management outcomes are achieved locally as well as nationally, and that any incursions in their rohe are minimised and mitigated. E, C, LT
Māori prioritised research, funded via a trusted and unbiased organisation, which includes the use of mātauranga Māori alongside other knowledges and science. E, C, LT Targeted funding for Māori-led solutions and research that has been prioritised by Māori and which recognises and includes mātauranga Māori (e.g., tool development, species resilience). E, C, LT
Long-term management programmes encourage effective working relationships with Māori nationally, regionally and locally; acknowledge and embed kaitiakitanga at all levels of the response; and are cognisant of the LT Resourcing is provided to ensure the co-development and management of national, regional and local long-term disease management scenarios including; pathway management plans, cultural management systems, ongoing engagement and partnership. LT

*E = Eradication Short-Medium term (Next 12 months); C = Containment Medium-Long term (12 months ongoing) ; LT = Long-term Management Long term (Ongoing multi-year - at least 10 years)


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Myrtle Rust Incursion - Survey 1

Myrtle Rust Hui

Te Tira Whakamātaki has been visiting regions to kōrero about myrtle rust. Below are dates and information about those hui. Please keep an eye on our  Facebook page for further updates. We will bring as many of our technicians/scientists (Māori and non-Māori) as possible to hui however feel free to contact us should you want specific information.

  • Kerikeri, 17 May, Plant and Food Research, 6pm.
  • Tauranga Moana, 20 June, Whareroa Marae, 2pm.
  • New Plymouth, 23 June, Taranaki Iwi, 11.30am.
  • Taupō, FoMA Myrtle Rust Forum, Taupō Cosmopolitan Club, 9am.
  • Kerikeri, 29 June, Plant and Food Research, 5.30pm.
  • Waikato Tainui, 4 July, 9am-12pm hui & 2pm-5pm hui, venues TBC.
  • Taranaki, 26 July, venue and time TBC
  • Kaikohe, date in July TBC
  • Iwi Chairs Forum, 3 August, Whakatane.
  • Te Tairāwhiti, 10 July, venue and time TBC