MRNZ 2017 Myrtle Rust Tangata Whenua Update

For information about this update, contact MR2017_Liaison@mpi.govt.nz

This update includes key information from the daily situation reports (SITREPs) from both MPI and DOC.
Light blue text below indicates new information (based on 17 May update).

Background
Myrtle Rust was confirmed in New Zealand (in a Kerikeri plant nursery) on 3 May 2017.

Situation

  • Work is underway in Taranaki to contain the spread of myrtle rust from the nursery in Waitara where it was confirmed yesterday.
  • There have been 2 more suspect finds in the New Plymouth region, close to this nursery. Both are plant based businesses. Samples from these sites have been sent to the lab in Auckland and the sites have been placed under restriction.
  • Staff from MPI, DOC, local hapu and the Taranaki local and regional councils are working on carrying out surveillance within a 500m radius of the confirmed nursery, setting up controls and applying fungicide treatment.
  • The response team in Taranaki is working hard to build up connections across all stakeholder and tangata whenua organisations.
  • No links are known, at present, between the nurseries in and Kerikeri and New Plymouth; this infection is possibly independent of the Kerikeri event.
  • There is no change to the situation in Kerikeri but surveillance work continues.

Incident Control
MPI is acting as the lead agency for the response with support from other central and local government agencies, industry and tangata whenua.

  • National Coordination Centre is based at MPI Wellington.
  • Local coordination is based at the DOC Bay of Islands office in Kerikeri.
  • In New Plymouth, local coordination has been set up at the Taranaki Emergency Management Office, 45 Robe St New Plymouth.

Operations

  • Removal of the potentially affected plants from Kerikeri has been completed.
  • MPI, DOC, industry groups and the Northland Regional Council, have completed the re-inspection of the area in a radius 500m from the nursery where the fungus was first found. The frequency of on-going inspections is still to be determined.

Intelligence

  • If you have any questions about the response, you can contact MPI at the following email address: MR2017_Intel@mpi.govt.nz
  • A Better Border Biosecurity (B3) workshop on Myrtle Rust was held in Christchurch on Monday 15 May looking at current knowledge and gap analysis for research.

Planning

  • Staff involved in the response will be available for weekend markets in both Kerikeri and New Plymouth.
  • Development of long term planning options continues.
  • Seed collection work is in progress involving manawhenua.

Information for Bee Keepers

  • Our best information tells us that transmission of any spores out of the hive is considered unlikely and low risk.
  • At this time we do not know how myrtle rust will behave in New Zealand conditions and what any impact would be on Manuka.
  • From the Australian experience, we do know that bees can transfer myrtle rust spores from plant to plant.
  • MPI is appealing to beekeepers not move their beehives if possible, while we gather further information.
  • At this time there is no need for any destruction of hives.

Myrtle Rust Hui in Kerikeri 17 May

  • MPI and DOC attended the myrtle rust hui in Kerikeri last night, arranged by Te Tira Whakamātaki to air concerns around the myrtle rust event.
  • Representatives from Ngāti Rēhia, Ngāti Hine (NH Forestry), Ngāti Wai, Waimate Taiāmai (Te Uri Taniwha, Ngāti Hineira), Te Rarawa, Whangaroa, Te Uri o Hua, Te Pōpoto, Te Rūnanga Ā Iwi o Ngāpuhi, Te Tira Whakamātaki attended the hui.
  • Discussions focussed on where/how Māori community can be truly engaged with this response process, alongside MPI and DOC.
  • Hapū concerns centred around not having the ability to be part of decisions being made in their respective rohe, as Ahi Kaa and as Kaitiaki.
  • These same concerns were reiterated around the seed collection process about to be undertaken insofar as a meeting with hapū within those areas should be the first port of call explaining the process and where hapū may be able to assist.

Other information

Protocols for plant producers, production nurseries and garden retailers on managing the risk of Myrtle Rust can be found on the NZ Plant Producers Incorporated website: http://nzppi.co.nz/

As a result of the Myrtle Rust DOC will be undertaking seed collection of native Myrtle species for seed banking to secure the long term future of some taonga species. A team from the Bay of Islands Office is planning to start in Puketi and Ngawha on Thursday, local hapu are welcome to accompany the team, if interested contact the Office 09 407 0300.

We will find out about seed collection activities in the Taranaki area and provide information.

Partners and stakeholders entering native forests are reminded to ensure they are keeping up hygiene protocols for Kauri dieback disease. These protocols can be found on the Kauri Dieback website: http://www.kauridieback.co.nz/prevention

Communication

  • The next update will be sent out on Friday 19 May.
  • Please feel free to share this information with anyone you feel will be interested.

Remember, early detection is vital to any attempt to control myrtle rust.

Full information including media updates, pictures and a fact sheet is at:
http://www.mpi.govt.nz/protection-and-response/responding/alerts/myrtle-rust

If you believe you have seen myrtle rust on plants in New Zealand:

  • Take a clear photo of symptoms and the host plant if possible
  • Immediately call MPI on 0800 80 99 66
  • Do not attempt to touch the plant as this may aid in the spread of the disease