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Tane Mahuta earns a drink

Friday 12 Apr 2013 5:56 a.m.

The drought is affecting manuka, kanuka and kauri

The drought is affecting manuka, kanuka and kauri

Reviving the garden after the summer drought? Spare a thought for those trying to refresh the country's largest kauri, it's taken them about two weeks' work with a hose.

Tens of thousands of litres of water from a nearby stream has been applied to the ground around Tane Mahuta, in Northland's Waipoua Forest, over the last two weeks as the massive tree suffered just as much as the rest of the forest.

Northland's drought has been so bad that even the extremely hardy manuka and kanuka were showing signs of drying out, said Department of Conservation (DOC) Kauri Coast area manager Mei Hardy-Birch.

Water is being pumped from a stream about 450m away, and all the equipment has been sterilised so the kauri dieback disease is not spread.

The 51-metre-tall Tane Mahuta is the largest living kauri tree in New Zealand and estimated to be about 2000 years old. It is an enormous tourist attraction in Northland.

Letting nature take its course and leaving Tane Mahuta to fend for itself was considered but DOC, the Waipoua Forest Trust and the Te Roroa iwi decided it needed to be watered.

"We have done that in the past, but at the end of the day we wouldn't want to be responsible for a major icon tree dying," Ms Hardy-Birch told NZ Newswire.

Tane Mahuta was not yet showing signs of recovery, but all the vegetation around the tree was responding, she said.


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