On-the-ground work to safeguard myrtles

January 14, 2020

Bec Stanley, a Curator at Auckland Botanic Gardens and Chair of the Botanic Gardens Australia NZ outlines ongoing work to monitor for myrtle rust and collect seeds in order to safeguard Aotearoa’s myrtles. (Photo: Emma Bodley, Auckland Botanic Garden Conservation & Records Specialist hand pollinating Rata Moehau.)

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Impacts of myrtle rust in New Zealand since its arrival

January 10, 2020

This New Zealand Garden Journal article Impacts of myrtle rust in New Zealand since its arrival in 2017 (Dec 2019) provides a great summary of knowledge of myrtle rust in New Zealand to date. Written by Plant & Food’s Rob Beresford and a team of co-authors, it reviews information available since the disease was first found in New Zealand, including key research findings from the MPI-funded projects.

The article highlights how stakeholders across organisations are collaborating to safeguard and sustain New Zealand’s myrtles. Thanks to the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture for their kind permission to publish this article on to help keep everyone interested in myrtle rust up to date with the latest news and information.

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New long-term monitoring form

January 7, 2020

A long-term monitoring form for myrtle rust has been developed and is available on for surveillance in New Zealand. The form is designed to be used by a wide variety of groups who have some level of knowledge of myrtle rust symptoms and who will be monitoring symptoms on specific host trees or stands of trees over time.

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New investment in myrtle rust research

November 20, 2019

Four new projects are underway within Ngā Rākau Taketake that address key science priorites identified in the kauri dieback and myrtle rust strategic science plans:

  • Mātauranga Māori Surveillance Framework
  • Funding for urgent monitoring of myrtle rust this season
  • Te mauri o te rakau, te mauri o te ngahere, te mauri o te tangata (The life force of the trees, the life force of the forest, the life force of the people)
  • Tools for detection and management

There are opportunities to get involved. 

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BioHeritage scoping group update

November 19, 2019

The Ngā Rākau Taketake (NRT) scoping group pitched their Investment Prospectus to a ‘dragons den’ earlier in the month, receiving lots of positive and constructive feedback. Read more about their timeline and the 2024 goals for safeguarding New Zealand's myrtles and kauri.

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Researchers to share updates

November 19, 2019

The Beyond Myrtle Rust Programme is proud to be sponsoring a myrtle rust symposium at this year’s New Zealand Ecological Society Conference in Christchurch where presenters will share myrtle rust research updates. They include Manaaki Whenua's James McCarthy, pictured, whose work was originally funded by MPI, and is now being carried on under the BYM reserach programme.

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Congratulations to the Myrtle Rust Research Consortium

November 7, 2019

Congratulations to the Myrtle Rust Research Consortium, which has won a top biosecurity award for its integrated and rapid research response to myrtle rust.

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New myrtle rust stakeholder group

October 14, 2019

A new Myrtle Rust Stakeholder Group is being formed to ensure priority actions in the new Myrtle Rust Strategy 2019-2023 are implemented. Membership will include government agencies, regional councils, Māori, Project Crimson, botanical gardens, New Zealand’s Biological Heritage Ngā Koiora Tuku Iho, forestry and plant industry associations, and a representative of the Myrtle Rust Strategic Science Advisory Group. The new group will meet for the first time in November.


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Taking action on essential infrastructure

October 13, 2019

The need for well-resourced seedbank facilities and an accessible data system were the focus of two workshops at the recent Myrtle Rust Science Symposium. 

Good progress was made on both issues, says Myrtle Rust Strategic Science Advisory Group Chair Ken Hughey, including identifying what we have, what we need, and how to close the gap.

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Research looks for answers to kauri dieback and myrtle rust

October 11, 2019

A University of Canterbury engineer has received an $800,000 Rutherford Discovery Fellowship to accelerate research into saving native trees from fungal pathogens. Using a lab-on-a-chip approach, Dr Nock will receive funding for the next five years to better understand how plant diseases such as kauri dieback and myrtle rust (which threatens pohutukawa, rata and manuka) target and invade their hosts.


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