On the southbank of the Waikanae River, upstream about half a kilometre from the expressway bridge, is a magnificent kahikatea forest.
The trees, thought to be the biggest block of restored kahikatea in Kāpiti, have been growing for a long time and are thriving in their riverside environment.
Next to the forest, which is flanked by public pathways on either side, are new plantings featuring a wide range of native species.
The species, up to about three metres tall, are only a few years old but are well on their way for a long life too.
However a section of the species, about 70 all up, have had their lives uprooted — literally.
Someone has ventured into the area and pulled the trees, which would have taken a bit of strength, out of the earth and left them discarded.
Species, which were eco-sourced and grown by Friends of the Waikanae River, included kahikatea, mahoe, pukatea, putaputaweta, cabbage tree, coprosma rhamnoides.
Not only that, but about 30 very young species, closer to the southern track, which were in plant protectors, have been pulled up and left on top of the holes to die.
The wilful damage has disappointed John Topliff, who for the past 40 years has dedicated his life to enhancing the southern side of the river, from Otaihanga Domain to the old state highway bridge.
And Kapiti Coast Ecological Maintenance Trust's Brent Buckler, who works with John, feels the same.
It was by chance that Brent discovered the uprooted trees when he walked through the area where they had been doing a lot of work especially weed control recently.
"We wouldn't normally come here but somehow I was drawn to the area and parked here.
"John saw some of the plastic plant protectors lying here so I went to investigate and saw a tree out, then another, and gradually as I walked through I thought 'holey moley'."
Brent thinks the damage, in an area hidden a bit from the tracks, was done sometime on Sunday night or the early hours of Monday because the tree roots hadn't dried out.
"It has set us back another two years at least."
He finds it hard to understand why someone would do such widespread damage.
"Everyone else who comes up here enjoys the environment."
Kāpiti Coast District Council was advised immediately of the discovery because it's under their jurisdiction.
"It's their land. We're just here to restore it.
"And I've been helping John for 13 years."
John said, "To whoever has done it, I feel no anger, I feel no frustration towards, I do have a sense of sadness that someone feels they have been affected by something that they feel they have to do this.
"If there's anything Brent or I have done to upset them we'd like to hear it and try to remedy it."
Brent added, "We don't want this to happen again.
"We want people to respect the place because it is a community asset."
John, who used to work 30-plus hours a week alongside the river, said the southern bank had been transformed "from a weed corridor to an ecological corridor".