Kia ora tātou, 
As you may or may not be aware, on 10 April Auckland Council’s Environment and Community Committee made its final decision on closure options for the Waitākere Ranges for the management of kauri dieback disease. 

The decision

The forested areas of the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park will be closed from 1 May to prevent the spread of, and protect against, the disease. 
The committee also agreed to close further higher-risk tracks in the Hunua Ranges Regional Park. These measures aim to prevent the introduction of the disease into the park, where it has not yet been detected. These closures will also come into effect from 1 May. 

The management of kauri dieback disease has been one of the most complex and challenging issues that Auckland Council has been faced with, and the closure of these areas will provide the highest level of protection to kauri. 

Exceptions to the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park closure includes beaches, pasturelands and a limited number of tracks with track surface conditions to a standard that will support the requirements of the proposed Controlled Area Notice. These exceptions will be jointly agreed on with mana whenua, Te Kawerau ā Maki.

Next steps

Auckland Council has been working with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) on Controlled Area Notices (CANs) for the Waitākere and Hunua ranges.
Under the arrangements being developed, open areas in the Waitākere and Hunua forests will become Controlled Areas under the Biosecurity Act, and anyone using them will need to comply with the instructions at cleaning stations and park entrances. A CAN comes with enforcement tools, including prosecution, if people fail to comply.

Compliance with these CANs will be enforced by Auckland Council, while MPI will monitor the CANs’ implementation, including people’s use of hygiene stations.

Auckland Council staff have begun to decommission tracks, remove signage and begin the process of restricting access to the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park.

Staff will work to prioritise initial track upgrades and improvements in the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park to re-establish coastal connectivity and multi-day walking opportunities, as suggested during the public engagement process, to mitigate the impact on park users and operators.

If you wish to read more about the decision check out OurAuckland and you can see an update from Councillor Hulse on Auckland Council’s Facebook page. If you wish to watch the Auckland Council’s Environment and Community Committee meeting then click here.

What does it mean for the screen industry?

At this stage, all of the Waitakere Ranges forested areas will be closed to everyone and select areas in Hunua Ranges Regional Park will also be closed. We will not be able to accommodate requests for filming in those areas. The closure will not affect the pine forests at Muriwai Regional Park or Woodhill Forest. 

We will send out an updated list of track closures with accompanying maps in the upcoming weeks.
If you have any questions, please get in touch with one of the film facilitators.