Author(s): Bruce & Trixie Harvey (eds)
The western edge of the city of Auckland is flanked by the forested Waitakere Ranges, with suburbs running into the park's foothills. In 30 minutes from the centre of the city one can be in the tranquility of wilderness. The primal forest had enormous kauti, a tangle of sub-trolical trees, smaller plants, invertebrates and birds. Te Kawerau a Maki came and occupied the coastal areas and the fringes of the great forest of Tiriwa. Europeans came and milled the prized kauri, the timber used to build ships and dwellings in cities of the Pacific rim. But remnants were saved and a few areas left to regenerate. Today the forest is again thrusting skyward and new generations of people are appreciating beauty once nearly lost. The Waitakere Ranges Protection Society was formed 30 years ago. Early attempts to commission a book about the area lapsed, but interest revived, resulting in this volume. It is written by many authors, who tell us from various points of view, what it is about the Waitakeres that they love and value. The book contains essays on the natural history, asserting the fascination and intrinsic value of the wildlife, and proposing ideas to enhance it. Other essays tell the history, both the destruction and the conservation of the great forest, and the lives of people who settled here. Maori past is presented as a poetic essay about the the place names in history and legend. The Ranges environment has inspired some of New Zealand's most celebrated poets, writers and artists, so the book concludes with the reproduction of works if art, poetry and prose that are identified with the area. Lavishly illustrated with wildlife photographs, drawings and maps, historical and contemporary photographs and paintings from the 19th century to the present, the book tells the story of this place in many voices, and encouraging story of an area once nearly devastated. While the giant trees of yesterday are gone, the giants of tomorrow are rising, different, but the beauty and inspiration endures. Tramping the valleys, hills and coastline has given the editors Bruce and Trixie Harvey, a love of the area. As a fourth generation descendant of early settlers Bruce has researched local history. Trixie studied biology and discovered the fascination of life n the rainforest. Titirangi residents for many years, they have strong attachments to the scientific, historical and conservationist communities in the region. In the section on arts and literature the editors have been assisted by the Society's president, scultor Joh Edgar, and art and literature lover and critic, Peter Simpson.