Top tips to protect Northland this summer

Department of Conservation —  19/12/2017

From the rugged west coast beaches, to the majestic kauri forest and the picture-perfect white sand vistas, Northland is a draw card for nature and summer lovers.  Wherever your Northland adventure may take you, the below tips will help protect our taonga.

Urupukapuka Island. Photo: DOC

Stay on the tracks to protect kauri

Kauri are one of our unique taonga, but they’re being killed by kauri dieback disease. It can be spread by just a pinhead of soil, and humans are the number one way in which the disease is spread.

Tane Mahuta. Photo: itravelNZ (CC by 2.0)

Tane Mahuta. Photo: itravelNZ (CC by 2.0)

There are simple actions we can all take, to save kauri for future generations to enjoy:


Protect our kauri by using the cleaning stations and sticking to the tracks. Photo: DOC

  • Clean all soil off your footwear and other gear, every time you enter or leave a forest area with native trees, and at every cleaning station.
  • Stay on the tracks and avoid walking over kauri roots.
  • If an area has been closed or is protected by a rahui, don’t use it.

Find out more about the disease and how you can help here.

Keep your eye out for Myrtle Rust

Myrtle Rust is a fungal disease that severely attacks plants in the myrtle family including pōhutukawa, mānuka and rātā. It is now in New Zealand and may be spreading in Northland.

If you think you’ve spotted Myrtle Rust, take a photo, don’t touch, and report any suspicious plants to 0800 80 99 66.

Check your gear before visiting offshore islands

Otehei Bay, Urupukapuka Island. Photo: Andy Rogers (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Otehei Bay, Urupukapuka Island. Photo: Andy Rogers (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Summer is the time to hear the birdsong coming back to Northland’s offshore islands, note by note. Many of these islands are now pest-free – and we want to keep it this way!

If you’re visiting an offshore island please check and seal.

  • Check – your gear, including boats, kayaks, clothes, bags for pests,
  • Seal – make sure your gear and food is zipped up (no open bags)

More information on visiting these islands can be found here. If you see any small animal footprints on pest-free island beaches call us 0800 DOC HOT.

Give marine mammals their space

It’s great to share our coast with marine mammals like dolphins, whales and seals, but we need to give them space – in the water, in the air and on the shore. Watch them from a distance and stay away from all mother and baby dolphins and whales.

  • Give whales, dolphins and seals space
  • Watch them from a distance and enjoy them being themselves – resting and feeding
  • Leave whale and dolphin mothers and calves alone, if you see a baby dolphin or whale, stay well clear.

The Bay of Islands is also lucky to have bottlenose dolphins and visitors love seeing them. To ensure their safety, give bottlenose dolphins a break from all boats between 11.30am – 1.30pm daily.

If you see anyone getting too close or moving too fast near whales and dolphins, signal for them to move away or slow down and, if the animal is at risk, call 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468).

Be a responsible dog owner


NO DOGS. Please be a responsible dog owner. Photo: DOC

Kiwi are New Zealand’s unique taonga, but they are under threat. In Northland most kiwi deaths are caused by dogs not under control. Kiwi can live just about anywhere, even in people’s backyards and under houses so, when away from home, please remember that you and your dog may be holidaying in a kiwi area.

Here are simple things you can do to help protect our national treasure, the kiwi:

  • Remember that any dog, including pets, can kill kiwi.
  • Look after our native wildlife by taking your dog only to approved dog areas.
  • Keep your dog indoors or secured at night.
  • When outdoors, keep your dog under control, preferably on a lead at all times.
  • If a track sign says “No dogs”, please walk your dog somewhere else.

And, if you see a dog not under control, ring the local Council dog ranger. A guide to where you can take your dogs on public conservation lands, and the conditions of access can be found here.

With your help this summer, we can keep our precious taonga safe. For information of outdoor activities in Northland, visit our website:

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  1. The ultimate ten-day Northland, New Zealand itinerary « Conservation blog - February 1, 2018

    […] hope you enjoy your visit to Northland. Before you head off please check out these top tips to protect our taonga to help us keep Northland’s amazing places and unique wildlife […]