8 September 2017

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Breaking news ... Myrtle Rust in Otorohanga

Myrtle rust has been found on two properties in the Otorohanga township.

In both cases it was found on a single ramarama tree. These finds are new positive detections of myrtle rust outside of the known established areas in Taranaki and Te Puke. MPI says these new detections do not have any connection with nurseries or other infected properties in Taranaki.

Industry Vigilance Essential Please

These detections serve to remind us that as we head into spring and warmer temperatures, industry members have an important role to play in early detection of new rust infections and in helping limit its spread. Plant producers, nurseries and retailers are urged to continue surveillance, crop inspections and the use of NZPPI myrtle rust management protocols.

Within a fortnight, NZPPI will be providing a substantive update on the myrtle rust response and what plant producers and industry partners can expect as we head into the active spring period for myrtle rust.

MPI Stakeholder Update

This email is to notify you that there has been a new positive detection of the fungal plant disease myrtle rust outside of the previously known areas in Taranaki and the Bay of Plenty. The fungus has been found on two properties in the Otorohanga township – in both cases on a single ramarama tree. The two properties do not have a connection with nurseries or other infected properties in Taranaki. It would appear these are infections that have occurred through wind contamination.

The infection was found as a part of MPI’s ongoing checks of areas that had been identified as at-risk due to prevailing wind direction, host species and climate.

MPI and DOC have been carrying out surveillance for the disease throughout the winter, even though myrtle rust is inactive in colder weather and the symptoms are less obvious. We had known that a reappearance of obvious myrtle rust symptoms was likely in spring – so while this is disappointing, it’s not entirely unexpected.

The two properties are being placed under legal restrictions to stop any movement of plant material off the sites. MPI will safely remove and destroy the two affected plants within the next few days.

After this, teams will check all myrtle species plants in an area extending in a 500m radius out from the two finds. This could take up to a fortnight.

In the meantime, we continue to encourage people to check myrtle species plants – e.g. pohutukawa, ramarama, manuka, feijoa, bottlebrush. If you believe you’ve seen the disease, don’t touch it, take photos if possible, note the location and contact MPI on 0800 80 99 66. Full info and images of the disease are on our website – We need these new reports to help build a picture of where this disease is present to enable us to best plan for its future management.

MPI's Media Statement


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