Auckland Council is hoping to re-open an iconic Waitākere walking track this summer after major work is done to protect against the spread of kauri dieback.
Board walks are being built and a helicopter is transporting gravel to upgrade Kitekite falls near Piha.
Hovering over the Waitākere forest canopy it's not hard to see the damage kauri dieback has done.
Senior Ranger Stu Leighton points out a large kauri he estimates is around 300 years old - one of many standing bare and white.
"The tree's completely dead so the bark's getting no goodness, all those branches will rot and fall down and it'll collapse in on itself. That's when you get that, basically once the bark has fallen off that's when you get the stark white skeleton sticking up.
In an effort to stop the spread of the disease on the dirty shoes of walkers and tourists, much of the Waitākere Ranges has been shut.
In April, Auckland Council threw its support behind a rāhui put in place by local iwi Te Kawerau ā Maki.
Meanwhile, $100 million from a targeted rate is being spent over the next decade to tackle the disease and mitigate its spread.
One of the first areas to benefit with $330,000 of that is the track to Kitekite falls - a popular spot for locals and tourists.
Another Senior Ranger, Dave Markham said work began four weeks ago to make it "kauri safe".
"Between us and a number of different parties we're going full steam ahead to try and get this track open for summer
"There is quite a demand to come here and we do recognise that there is some risk associated with having a closed track and that level of popularity so I guess prudently we're trying to do this track before some of the other ones."
Around 20 staff and contractors, supported by volunteers, are moving more than 200 tonnes of aggregate, adding 275m of boardwalk and creating more than 200m of boxed steps.
A helicopter works back and forth transporting slushy gravel from an open field up to the track, which will be re-enforced with special mats.
Mr Leighton, who also holds the role of kauri dieback manager, said it was about minimising mud and protecting the existing forest.
"It's really important not just from the point of view of kauri dieback, it's really important in terms of as we get more people living in Auckland there's more people coming, there's more visitor pressure on these locations so actually putting in infrastructure that can help the forest sustain that increased visitor pressure is really important."
He said Kitekite was an "iconic" site which would be well received if opened for summer.
"What we're planning with our track reopening is to focus more of the tracks to the forest edge, to the coastal parts where the kauri numbers are much lower..."
He said the council were asking people to be patient.
"We're trying to do stuff to the very best of our ability using the best science knowledge that we've got so it takes time to get right. That's the most important thing for us is getting these solutions right to allow people back into the forest in a safe way."
Part of that involved participation of local iwi Te Kawerau ā Maki which Mr Leighton said had been walked through the track.
"The work that's been done was agreed to with Te Kawerau ā Maki, so we agreed a plan... So they still need to be part of that final audit and final sign off but as long as we've achieved what we were hoping to achieve up here then the intention is we'd reopen it.
Mr Leighton said the track opening would be respectful of the rāhui by iwi.
"We need their support to do it and we want their support. This is a partnership to try look after this forest and that's what we're really keen to do.
While the iwi couldn't be reached for comment, Mels Barton from the Tree Council said she and many others had been working with them as part of the Waitākere Rāhui Team.
She said while there seemed to be an agreement that the work done at Kitekite was of a good standard, the overall approach to forest welfare had to be ironed out.
"On 10th April all of the councillors and the mayor voted to obviously close the ranges and the Hunuas, but part of the resolutions were that any future openings would be jointly agreed with Te Kawerau ā Maki and there'd be work done with the iwi to produce an overarching management plan for wider forest issues, kauri dieback but wider forest health issues."
She said the policy would cover things like what standard tracks had to meet and how recreation would be reorganised across the ranges.
"That policy is waiting to be jointly agreed and there's some debate about that going on right now. The iwi have definitely not signed off on that policy yet because they're not happy with where it's at at the moment, so council can't go public with that or open any tracks until that strategy is agreed."
She said the joint strategy had to be straightened out first before any tracks could reopen.