Northland Rugby has joined the fight against kauri dieback disease. The message is simple - “Clean your boots”.
Recently, the team made a trip to Waipoua Forest to visit Tāne Mahuta to learn about the disease and how they can help perpetuate the kaupapa.
As a Northlander, loose forward Aorarangi Stokes feels a responsibility to spread the word about kauri dieback.
“For us, it’s just about how can we make sure we educate our rugby community- and that seeps down into the community as a whole as Northlanders and then what we can do to educate the nation?” says Stokes.
The kauri tree has been the Northland Rugby Union’s crest and icon of almost 100 years and is a significant taonga for Northland.
Kauri dieback is a non-curable disease which spreads from tree to tree in the soil. The disease is mainly spread through boots or shoes (Source: biologicalheritage.nz).
Although the spread of the disease can have devastating results, the remedy is as easy as cleaning your footwear.
“Clean your shoes and make sure you don't track it into any area where there is no dieback, that's the biggest thing that we can do to keep kauri standing,” says Snow Taoho Tane, General Manager of Te Roroa.
The team is launching a three year campaign with the 'Keep Kauri Standing' programme.
The Keep Kauri Standing campaign will involve the distribution of 4,000 boot-bags and cleaning kits to junior rugby players across the region. The boot bags are branded to improve awareness of the disease and are specially designed to hold muddy boots or shoes to transport them back home where they can be properly cleaned.