Introduction New Zealand has a long history of forest health research, dating back to the 1920s when the Forest Service appointed D. Millar and G.H. Cunningham as entomologist and pathologist, respectively (de Gryse 1955). In 1953, de Gryse was commissioned by the New Zealand Forest Service to recommend practices to safeguard New Zealand's exotic forests from the threat of insect and pathological epidemics. In his report de Gryse recommended a formal forest health surveillance system with the focus on a detection survey. Kershaw (1989) provided an excellent review of the forest health surveillance in New Zealand. He described how in the late 1960s the emphasis of forest health surveys changed from pest population sampling to detecting new forest health problems. In the early to mid-1970s regular surveys of port environs were started. These surveys consisted almost solely of inspecting parks and reserves. Blitz surveys, where teams of inspectors scoured pre-determined sites for new insects and fungi, were carried out from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, but ceased in 1987 with the demise of the New Zealand Forest Service.