Wilderness

Kaitiaki of THE KAURI

Like great lungs, the Waitākere and Hunua ranges straddle the heart of Auckland to the east and west – though they both have very different stories to tell.

With its broad back of black sand, wild Waitākere extends from suburbs to sea and provides Auckland its best bid for rugged beauty and isolation. The range is a haven for walkers and home to fiercely proud locals. It is also suspected to contain the most heavily infected kauri forest in Aotearoa.

The Hunua Range lies less than 50km away as the kererū flies. At 12,000ha, it makes up Auckland’s largest forested terrain and contains the majority of the city’s ever-worrisome water supply. Swathes of kauri still exist in the park, stoic survivors of the logging days, and survivors still of the pathogen plaguing the neighbouring Waitākere. To the best of scientists’ knowledge, and against the odds, Hunua Ranges Regional Park remains kauri dieback free.

Adrian Wilson is one of many tasked with keeping it that way. At Auckland Council, he is responsible for the compliance elements of the dieback response; essentially steering the public clear of diseased kauri and cracking down if they stray from the approved tracks.

It’s a relatively new role within the council and was developed to manage those who pay no heed to signage or fences and

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