Visitors to the Esplanade may notice MPI staff in protective clothing surveying the trees, as is standard practice for this particular response.
Myrtle rust is a fungal disease that can seriously affect significant native trees, including pohutakawa and rata. The disease could also affect other native plants which only occur naturally in New Zealand such as lilly pilly, gum trees and bottle brushes.
John Brenkley, PNCC Parks & Property Manager says the identification of myrtle rust is concerning, but the council has confidence in MPI’s response protocols for managing this tree disease, which has already been found in various other locations across NZ including council properties in Taranaki and Auckland.
“Our key priority right now is to work closely with MPI in managing this situation.
“We’re asking people to report any suspected myrtle rust sightings so we can ensure it’s dealt with quickly to minimise the risks of it spreading.
“If you think you have seen myrtle rust, please take a photo, while taking great care not to touch it, and contact the Ministry for Primary Industries on 0800 80 99 66.
”There is also a smartphone app created by Scion to help people report myrtle rust and plants in the myrtle family. It can be found by searching “Myrtle Rust Reporter” in Google Play or the app store.”