Myrtle Rust Update #2

Te Tira Whakamātaki the Māori Biosecurity Network is comprised of Māori scientists, researchers, environmental technicians, biosecurity specialists and traditional ecological knowledge (mātauranga Māori) holders. It is supported by colleagues who include pathologists (forest, plant, molecular), ecologists, biochemists, geneticists, entomologists, environmental managers, conservationists and more.

Our Interim Executive members are: Glenice Paine (Chair), Dr Nick Waipara, Dr Amanda Black, Waitangi Wood, Alby Marsh, Dr James Ataria, Dr Shaun Ogilvie, Thomas (Tame) Malcolm, Dr Nick Roskruge, and Melanie Mark-Shadbolt. Our Executive is supported by Kevin Prime (tikanga/Māori strategy).


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 102 confirmed sites including: 28 in the Bay of Plenty, 4 in Northland, 68 in Taranaki, and 2 in Waikato. It has been detected on Ramarama, Pohutukawa, Northern Rata, Southern Rata, Monkey apple, Mānuka, Bottle brush and Eucalyptus.

For further information please visit MPI's website.

Myrtle Rust Surveillance Training

The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) working with Te Tira Whakamātaki, will be providing field training on how to identify Myrtle Rust. Myrtle Rust is a fungal plant disease that infects plants in the myrtaceae family. Of particular concern to Māori is its effect on pōhutukawa, rātā, kānuka, mānuka, swamp maire and commercially grown species such as feijoa. Māori recognise that not only are Myrtaceae at risk from myrtle rust, but also associated taonga species such as birds due to the knock on effects.
In hui facilitated by Te Tira Whakamātaki, mana whenua expressed their desire to understand and be able to recognise the disease, so that they can better be prepared for the presentation of myrtle rust in their rohe. With the approaching change in season bringing predicted outbreaks of myrtle rust in natural and domestic stands of taonga myrtaceae species, the window for training is now.
This training is best suited to whānau and kaitaiki that work with taonga species or in the ngahere. You could be someone who specialises in rongoa, a Māori bee-keeper, a native nursery kaimahi or a kaitiaki who works eradicating pests, mapping taonga species and/or reinstating natural forests and waterways.

Register or find out more information here.

Myrtle Rust Symposium header

This symposium will be an opportunity to gain insights from USA and Australian researchers working on Myrtle Rust.

It is being coordinated by Plant & Food Research and is scheduled for the 28th of August 2017, at Building 732, Lecture Theatre 201, Tamaki Innovation Campus, Auckland University, St Johns, Auckland.

For further information or to register click here.

Controlled Areas in Taranaki

There is a Controlled Area that exceeds 10km from the known infected areas in Waitara, Taranaki in place.

Taranaki Controlled Area

This means you can not move myrtle plants or green waste from these plants out of the Controlled Area.

  • It is illegal to move  plants (including trees) or plant material (such as garden waste,  clippings, feijoa and guava fruit) from the myrtle family out of  this area. You can still buy and plant these species inside the  Controlled Area.
  • Dispose of green waste  responsibly within the Controlled Area – for example, at the Waitara  transfer station or the New Plymouth landfill

Myrtle Rust Hui

Te Tira Whakamātaki has been visiting regions to kōrero about biosecurity and 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 (purple hui have been).

  • Tamaki Makaurau Kaitiaki hui, 12 May
  • Pest Free Auckland hui, 14 May
  • Kerikeri (Plant and Food Research), 17 May
  • Tauranga Moana (Whareroa Marae), 20 June
  • Taranaki Iwi (New Plymouth), 23 June
  • Taupō, FoMA Myrtle Rust Forum (Taupō Cosmopolitan Club), 26 June
  • Kerikeri (Plant and Food Research), 29 June
  • Waikato Tainui (Manu Korero, Ngaruawahia) 4 July
  • Waikato Tainui (Maniapoto, Te Kuiti), 4 July
  • Maniapoto Huntly Land Owner Collective, 5 July
  • Ruatoria, 10 July
  • Te Araroa (Hinerupe Marae), 10 July
  • Taranaki Iwi (PKW), 26 July
  • Iwi Chairs Forum (Te Manuka Tūtahi Marae, Whakatane), 3 August
  • Te Puke (Te Kapu o Waitaha), 10 August, 11am
  • Kaikohe (Kohewhata Marae, Kaikohe) 14 August, 5pm
  • Auckland (venue & time TBC), 27 August (note this hui will focus on seed conservation protocols)
  • Ngāti Kahungunu, TBA
  • Te Tau Ihu, TBA
  • Te Waipounamu, TBA

Update from the Network

  • Network Chair Glenice Paine is a member of MPI's Myrtle Rust SSAG - Strategic Science Advisory Group.
  • Network Executive members Thomas Malcolm and Dr Nick Waipara are members of MPI's Myrtle Rust TAG - Technical Advisory Group.
  • Network Executive members have contributed to a number of high-level documents around the myrtle rust response, management and research.
  • Network Executive members Waitangi Wood and Melanie Mark-Shadbolt have met with a number of senior MPI representatives to;
  1. further Māori  engagement in the incursion response; and
  2. ensure Māori  priorities and needs are being determined and resourced.

Myrtle Rust Survey

Take the Myrtle Rust incursion survey now