The last of the giants

Over the last three years, Hjelm walked most of the Waitakere Ranges’ 256 kilometres of track, part of a team which examined 22,744 kauri for signs of infection. He can spot a thinning canopy where most people wouldn’t notice any sign of ill health. The survey found that 80 per cent of kauri here on Maungaroa Ridge are dead or dying; about a quarter of trees in the regional park are infected.
“You’re such a big tree-lover and then you do this,” he says, and shakes his head. “It’s like walking into a hospital, sick trees here and sick trees there.”
This isn’t a hospital, I think to myself. It’s a cemetery.