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McCahon kauri live to fight another day

Media release
20 May 2014

McCahon kauri live to fight another day

Seeds from the kauri that inspired a series of works by New Zealand artist Colin McCahon have been collected to help preserve their cultural and botanic legacy.

The iconic artist’s former home in the Waitakere Ranges is set amongst the giant trees that were young when McCahon lived there in the 1950’s and featured in some of his paintings. There are over 50 McCahon works with kauri in the title.

These trees are now, like many other kauri, under threat from kauri dieback disease.

Auckland Council’s biosecurity team has been monitoring these significant trees closely since 2008 to manage the infection, however the decline is continuing. In January 2013 two infected trees needed to be removed from the property.

By harvesting the seeds of these kauri the council can conduct further research on the impacts of the disease, particularly on how kauri dieback effects seed production and viability.

To affirm the artistic connection the harvested seeds and subsequent saplings will be known as “McCahon Kauri”.

The seeds will be propagated under quarantine conditions within a nursery and will take approximately two years to establish properly. Current plans for the kauri are to plant them in public spaces.

If numbers allow, some saplings may be available for the public to obtain their own “McCahon Kauri”.

McCahon House Trustees are excited that the McCahon kauri will still be able to be enjoyed by future generations with important art-science links strengthened between the Kauri Dieback Management Programme and McCahon House.

The council will continue to work with McCahon House Trust to treat the remaining, diseased kauri with phosphite in an on-going trial.

Everybody has a part to play in helping prevent the spread of kauri dieback. Be sure to keep to walking tracks and off kauri roots and clean shoes, tyres and other equipment before and after visiting kauri forests.

To find out more and learn what you can do to help, visit and report any sightings of this deadly disease to 0800 NZ KAURI (0800 695 2874).


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