Myrtle rust is a serious fungal disease that affects plants in the myrtle family. Plants in this family include New Zealand’s native pōhutukawa, mānuka, rātā, and some common ornamental garden plants like bottlebrush and lilly pilly.
Myrtle rust in New Zealand
Dedicated website has in-depth information
Biosecurity New Zealand and the Department of Conservation have developed a myrtle rust website. It has in-depth information about myrtle rust in New Zealand. You'll find:
- information about the disease, where it's been found, when it's most active, and what plants it can affect
- tools to help you to identify and record sightings of it
- advice on how to manage it on your own property
- an overview of research projects to help combat the disease, and the July 2019 Myrtle Rust Science Plan
- information about the 2019 Myrtle Rust Science Symposium
- a range of guidance and resources.
Current status of myrtle rust
Myrtle rust has been found throughout most of the North Island, and across the top and on the west coast of the South Island. Biosecurity New Zealand is no longer collecting, analysing, or reporting myrtle rust data. Given the widespread distribution of the disease, targeted surveillance and control activities have ceased and the focus is firmly on:
- research to build our understanding of myrtle rust
- research to identify possible tools, treatments, and future management options
- supporting landowners to minimise the impacts of myrtle rust on their plants, through advice on the myrtle rust website.
How you can help
If you think you see signs of the disease on a myrtle plant, don't touch it.
If you have a camera or mobile phone you can take a photo and submit it to the iNaturalist website. Experts can check to confirm whether your identification is correct.
You can also call the MPI Exotic Pest and Disease Hotline on 0800 80 99 66. Capturing this information through iNaturalist or MPI means it will be available to agencies and scientists in future to analyse the rate of spread and observed impacts.
More instructions, tools, and training videos are available on the myrtle rust website.
Because myrtle rust is an unwanted organism, you are obliged to take care not to deliberately spread it. If you decide to remove myrtle rust infected plant material, you must comply with the conditions set out in the general permission granted by MPI’s chief technical officer when transporting, and disposing of, infected plant material. The permission document has information on the conditions.
- Download the permission document [PDF, 43 KB]
Myrtle rust newsletters (Myrtle Rust in NZ website)
- July 2019
- March 2019
- February 2019
- January 2019
- December 2018
- November 2018
- October 2018
- September 2018
- August 2018
- July 2018
Minutes from Myrtle Rust Governance Board meetings
- June 2019 [PDF, 688 KB]
- presentation [PDF, 2.2 MB]
- May 2019 [PDF, 287 KB]
- March 2019 [PDF, 296 KB]
- January 2019 [PDF, 270 KB]
- November 2018 [PDF, 248 KB]
- October 2018 [PDF, 258 KB]
- September 2018 [PDF, 246 KB]
Strategy and science plan
Links to the strategy and science plan are on the Myrtle Rust in New Zealand website.