June 22, 2017
FOMA steps up to tackle myrtle rust
The Federation of Maori Authorities wants to take a lead role in tackling the threat of myrtle rust establishing a presence this side of the Tasman.
Infestations of the wind-borne fungus have been found in nurseries in Te Puke, Te Kuiti, New Plymouth and the Far North, and Minstry for Primary Industries biosecurity officials expect to find more once the spring growth starts.
FOMA chair Traci Houpapa says it's a major threat to parts of the horticulture sector and to the burgeoning Maori manuka honey sector.
That's why FOMA Tuwharetoa is holding a hui in Taupo next Monday where scientists from the ministry, the Maori biosecurity team and the Miere Coalition can share what they know with landowners and members of the public and explain how to spot the threat.
"It's a bright yellow dust that occurs on the back of leaves, and then once it's established in terms of the spores it starts having more powdery eruptions on the top sides of the leaves as well, affecting our manuka, pohutukawa, kanuka and other plants, feijoa and guava as well for those of us who are in the horticulture industry," Ms Houpapa says.
People should send photos of any suspect plants to the Ministry for Primary Industries or the Department of Conservation.
Monday's hui is at the Taupo Cosmopolitan Club starting at 9am.
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