Healthy trees, healthy future

Phytophthora is a genus of soil, air or water borne plant pathogens that pose major challenges to global biosecurity.

Scion led a six-year collaborative research programme from 2013 to 2019 to address the threat of Phytophthora species to New Zealand’s agriculture, horticulture, and natural and urban forest estates.

Mana whenua, stakeholders and researchers came together to look at kauri, pine and apple ecosystems with individual and common science challenges.

In partnership with mana whenua groups we found kauri that may have the ability to resist the kauri pathogen.

Outbreaks of red needle cast in pines can be predicted using new models allowing appropriate control programmes to be planned.

Red needle cast-resistant radiata pines were found.

The origins and genetic makeup of the phytophthora pathogens challenging our systems are better understood.

Science publications

The work is continuing through research projects funded by MBIE, MPI, the forestry and horticulture sectors and the Biological Heritage National Science Challenge.  Also see:


Funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, New Zealand Forest Growers Levy Trust, Radiata Pine Breeding Company and the Kauri Dieback Programme.


Darryl Herron, Team Lead, Pathogen Diagnostics and Collections

Vicky Hodder, Operational Leader