[10 May/The Country]

Myrtle Rust has been detected on the West Coast for the first time, on a young pohutukawa tree in Greymouth. This is after DOC announced last year that the disease had spread from the North Island to the Tasman region. Myrtle rust attacks myrtle species, including pohutukawa, manuka, kanuka and rata. Pohutukawa are not native to the West Coast, but the fear is for the other species. Myrtle rust was first found in Northland in May 2017, and has since spread to Auckland, Te Puke, Waikato, Taranaki, Wellington, Tasman and now the West Coast. As the fungus is wind-borne, it is expected to spread further. Any suspected cases can be reported to the biosecurity hotline.