August 2018 Myrtle Rust Update

August 29, 2018

In this update you will find:

  • Myrtle rust detections over the last month from Biosecurity New Zealand 
  • Myrtle rust working group update 
  • Seed banking update from the Department of Conservation 

Detections in the last month

The total number of infected properties reported is 769.

New finds since last update by town/city/suburb – 9 new sites:

  • Auckland: Pukuranga (1), Mission Bay (1), and Epsom (1)
  • Waikato: Hampton Downs (1)
  • Bay of Plenty: Tauranga (1)
  • Nelson: The Wood (3), and Tahunanui (1)

Property type:

Private (618), public land (68), commercial (43), school (15), nursery (13), public conservation land (4), retailer (2), golf course (2), orchard (2), depot (1), cemetery (1).

Susceptible plants

The plants that appear to be most susceptible to myrtle rust in New Zealand so far include ramarama, pōhutukawa, rātā, monkey apple and bottle brush.

Myrtle rust working group update 

A cross-sector Working Group has been established to provide input and recommendations on agreed long-term management objective(s) that will underpin a collaborative long-term management plan across Aotearoa New Zealand. This group includes members from the Ministry of Primary Industries, Department of Conservation, Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Regional Councils, Project Crimson, and Māori organisations with an interest in biosecurity.

The Working Group is meeting monthly and has prepared a draft vision statement and objectives for the Myrtle Rust Governance Group for consideration and endorsement.  

Over the coming months, these draft statements and objectives will be further developed to identify the supporting activities that each participating agency or group can contribute to achieve the objectives. 

A final draft is expected to go to the Myrtle Rust Governance Group in late September for review, pending approval from the Governance Group. A draft Long Term Management Strategy and Action Plan for myrtle rust will be circulated to a wider audience for comment, before being finalised in late December 2018.

Seed banking update  

The Department of Conservation’s (DOC's) 2018 seed collection programme will be coming to a close at the end of August, as most Myrtle species are not producing seed at this time of year.

So far around 57% of the desired native Myrtle seed has been collected, from 29 of the 36 bankable species.  Planning has already started for the next round, which will commence early in 2019. We will take stock of what we have collected and what still needs to be collected, and build capability within the field teams nationally.