November 05, 2021
Ramarama gone from Raukūmara as myrtle rust spreads
A Department of Conservation ranger is marshalling forces to tackle the spread of myrtle rust that already may have wiped out one species on the East Coast.
With the help of artist friends Graeme Atkins made a video about the plight of the ramarama.
He also took Conservation Minister Kiritiapu Allan into the Raukūmara Forest to show her the problem, and secured support for a hapū-led Jobs for Nature project.
Since he first spotted myrtle rust near Te Araroa in 2018 he has watched the species vanish across a huge landscape.
“Watching the seedling vanish first in year one and then the midsized ramarama in year two and the adults last year. That’s pretty much game over because if there are no seedlings coming though and no adult seed source, it’s pretty much a bleak future,” he says.
While it’s probably too late to save ramarama, there are 15 other species of native myrtle in Tairawhiti, and the Jobs for Nature project will put boots on the ground to monitor the ngahere and collect seeds and cuttings so reserve and fungus-resistant populations can be established.
Here is the link to the video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IEAs3viVyEMate Tipu, Mate Rākau