The Myrtle Rust Science Plan can be used by all New Zealanders as a guide to what science will be most valuable for the management of myrtle rust.
The Myrtle Rust Strategic Science Advisory Group (SSAG) was set up by the Ministry for Primary Industries in June 2017. SSAG members include expert scientists, iwi and government representatives. The SSAG’s first task was to identify and prioritise immediate research needs to help combat its spread. This saw MPI commission around $3.7 million worth of research projects
The SSAG then released a longer-term Myrtle Rust Science Plan in July 2019. The Science Plan can be used by all New Zealanders as a guide to what science will be most valuable for the management of myrtle rust. The science plan was developed in consultation with more than 50 researchers, stakeholders and Māori.
In December 2021, given the common issues faced by both the Kauri Protection Programme and ongoing myrtle rust research projects, it was agreed to form a joint Knowledge Advisory Group (KAG) for Kauri and Myrtle Ora, superseding the SSAG. The new KAG has an expanded mandate covering strategic and operational knowledge that incorporates science and mātauranga Māori perspectives. It provides high-level recommendations to decision-makers on priorities and helps coordinate research programmes for these two high profile plant pathogens with a particular focus on driving knowledge to impact.
The science plan supports the New Zealand Myrtle Rust Strategy 2019-2023 and its vision to ensure the mauri of myrtle plants and dependent ecosystems is safeguarded and sustained.