The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has confirmed the presence of the myrtle rust plant disease on mainland New Zealand for first time, in Kerikeri.
MPI and Auckland Council are asking Aucklanders to keep their eyes peeled for this invasive fungus and to report it immediately if spotted.
Myrtle leaf rust is a serious fungal disease that attacks members of the myrtle family of plants.
It could have a serious impact on our native pohutukawa, manuka, kanuka and rata as well as feijoa and eucalypts, damaging or even killing them. Myrtle rust spores are microscopic and can easily spread across large distances by wind, or via insects, birds, people, or machinery.
You’re most likely to spot myrtle rust on young, soft, actively growing leaves, shoot tips and young stems, as well as flowers and fruit.
Initial symptoms are powdery, bright yellow or orange-yellow spots, or brown-grey rust pustules in the case of older infections. The rust can appear red depending on the types of spores being produced.
The fungus often causes leaves to buckle or twist and die off.