Back in July, we announced that Dr Beccy Ganley, co-lead for Theme 6: Host, Pathogen & Environment, would be taking on the role of Science Leader for Ngā Rākau Taketake. The Challenge is now also pleased to share that Dr Nari Williams is confirmed as the new co-lead for Theme 6, working alongside Juliane Chetham.  

The team behind Ngā Rākau Taketake research investment Host, Pathogen & Environment are responsible for looking into the role that environmental factors play on disease expression and severity, as well as investigating the genomes of the pathogens which cause kauri dieback and myrtle rust. The knowledge gained from this mahi will contribute to improving surveillance, control, management and conservation efforts, and hopefully lead to the discovery of new ways to mediate these diseases. 

Nari has already been working closely with the Challenge, including her work monitoring kauri dieback in the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park, in collaboration with Auckland Council,  Te Kawerau Ā Maki (mana whenua), researchers (including various members of Ngā Rākau Taketake), spatial modelers and operational management. This surveillance program involves up to 3,500 individual kauri trees being monitored, through looking at the health of the foliage, trunk and surrounding vegetation. 

Nari’s expertise continues to be of great value to the Challenge, and to ensuring the health of our kauri and myrtle species. 

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