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Biosecurity | NZPPI

About Myrtle Rust

Myrtle rust is a serious fungal disease that attacks plants of the Myrtaceae family (Myrtle family), including many important native New Zealand species.

Myrtle rust was first detected on mainland New Zealand in May 2017. Since this time the disease has been found in a number of locations across the North Island.

The growth and spread of the disease is continuing to accelerate. The warm and humid summer conditions this year have provided conditions for fungal diseases to grow and spread, including high humidity and warm night time temperatures.

Efforts to manage myrtle rust are focused on slowing the spread of the disease. This relies on the nursery industry, MPI, DoC and the public to identify the disease, and to manage the disease when it is found. Early efforts involved intensive surveillance and the removal and destruction of host plants. On April 6, after a significant increase in the number of site finds, including the first in the South Island, the focus was changed to management of the disease over the long term. Efforts will now be placed on a science programme designed to lift understanding around the disease such as ways to treat myrtle rust, resistance and susceptibility, and to improve seed banking collection.

The role and requirement of nurseries has not changed; it is expected all nurseries growing Myrtaceae plants will continue to follow and use the NZPPI Myrtle Rust Protocols.

December symposium on current myrtle rust research and future needs for New Zealand

The Myrtle Rust Strategic Science Advisory Group (MRSSAG) has the task of supporting prioritisation and alignment of research to support the myrtle rust programme in New Zealand. The SSAG developed the initial science needs that then led to some of the early investment in tackling myrtle rust. They now need to identify priorities for the next phase.

We want to make the most of the collective expertise of researchers, mātauranga Māori experts and stakeholders at this symposium in order to assist the MRSSAG in developing NZ’s myrtle rust science plan. In order to achieve this, the symposium will be run over two days:

  • Day 1 – Scene setting/context, high level research theme summaries on the things we know, how that information can be used, and work that is in-train. This will be followed by robust discussions on the framing of research themes and an initial identification of priorities for future work
  • Day 2 – Workshopping research priorities and mapping out next steps in developing the plan

There will still be opportunities for presentations, but we will work with research leads to ensure that these are presented as summaries of programme outcomes and key findings, rather than specific project updates.

Please register here for the symposium.

A more detailed agenda for the symposium will come out soon and we will be in touch with those who have signalled an interest in presenting.

Details of the event

Event Timing: 13 - 14 December 2018, 9am - 5pm

Event Address: Brentwood Hotel, 16 Kemp Street, Kilbirnie, Wellington - 0508 273 689

Accommodation at the Brentwood Hotel is available for participants travelling to Wellington. Please mention this symposium at the time of booking. Please note accommodation is at your own expense.

This event is organized by Biosecurity New Zealand with co-funding from Better Border Biosecurity (B3). For more information or for any queries please contact us at

What to do

  • Be aware

    of the location of new infection sites, particularly within 10km of your nursery. NZPPI can provide up to date information about these sites.

  • Continue to implement

    the myrtle rust management protocols and support your staff to follow the practices, even if you are not affected at the moment.

  • Plan for your first response

    in the event that you find myrtle rust in or near your nursery.

  • Talk and share information

    with other nurseries and with your customers. It is important to build trust.

  • Be prepared

    with accurate information for your customers and the public.

  • Let NZPPI know what is happening and how we can help.

    Contact, or phone 04 918 3511.

NZPPI's work

The NZPPI team has worked tirelessly to help businesses that have been affected by myrtle rust. This work has been widely acknowledged as it has benefited the nursery industry & the community. We are committed to continuing this work as the crisis develops. The spread of this disease may be out of our control, but there is still a lot that we can do to minimise its impact.


If you produce, distribute, or sell plants that are in the Myrtaceae family and you are not a member of NZPPI, we suggest that you take steps to join to ensure that you are able to access the information and support that you need to manage this disease and MPI moves towards long term management of the disease.

See our membership sign up process here.