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Despite its global distribution, it is not known how myrtle rust will affect trees in New Zealand, because the disease behaves differently in different ecosystems.

We have a narrow window of opportunity to learn and predict what these effects might be while the fungus remains a recent immigrant.

Led by Dr Mahajabeen Padamsee  (Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research), Beyond Myrtle Rust will bring together researchers from Manaaki Whenua, Scion, Plant & Food Research, Unitec, Lincoln Agritech, and the Universities of Auckland, Canterbury and Queensland.

These scientists will work closely with iwi and landowners to understand potential disease impacts, adapt learnings from other countries, and identify approaches and tools that will be effective in Aotearoa.

To accelerate research and improve outcomes, the programme will incorporate mātauranga Māori throughout – drawing on traditional management and medicinal approaches.

Rebekah Fuller  (Lincoln Agritech) and Alby Marsh (Plant and Food Research) have lead roles in realising our mātauranga Māori component. They aim to develop new, targeted ways to reduce myrtle rust damage to vulnerable plants and landscapes, and future-proof them against other plant diseases. These methods will be informed by the knowledge and aspirations of our Māori communities.

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