[5 May/Radio NZ]

Two popular tracks in the Waitakere Ranges were reopened after work to prevent the spread of kauri dieback. Large parts of the ranges were closed as Auckland Council joined local iwi to fight the disease that is fatal to kauri. Two of the tracks had been upgraded to make it harder for the fungus to spread. Auckland Council’s Regional Parks Manager, Rachel Kelleher, said the paths were resurfaced with gravel which meant dirt would not be stirred up as people walked. Barriers were put up to keep visitors out of some places, and walk-through shoe cleaning stations had been installed. Almost 170 tracks in the Waitakere Ranges Forest Park remained closed, with strict guidelines required for the few that remained open. Those caught disobeying the rules faced a maximum penalty of three months’ imprisonment or a $50,000 fine.