South Island Kokako

New Zealand Geographic, July/August 2016

It was dusk when I left him at Venture Creek in June. He walked off down a boggy four-wheel-drive track to his hidden campsite—a small clearing of marshy ground a few hundred metres from the road. He thought he would boil water for a cup of tea and set up his tarpaulin, before night came and he was alone in the bush. At dawn, he planned to head back up the ridge, playing his tapes, stalking the wild places of South Westland in search of a wild thing, a phantom remnant chord of the lost symphony of our forests.