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Where we see a leaf, artist Nic Moon sees a skeleton, and where we see a tree trunk, she will see the roots below it.

The installation artist and sculptor is one of two artists in residence in Auckland's regional parks.

It is the first time the parks have been provided to live-in artists by the Auckland Regional Council.

Moon is interested in the interface between human environments and natural landscapes, like at Wenderholm Regional Park which Maori first inhabited about 800 years ago.

She is also interested in what she calls 'bones' or the skeletal structures that support an organism.

Among her site-specific creations is an installation of storm-blown pohutukawa branches and twigs which are laid around the base of a young pohutukawa tree on the park peninsula Te Akeake.

She has wrapped crimson-coloured red wool to create a ring of protection for the above-ground representation of the root below, in part to reflect the efforts by humans before to protect the grove.

"The oldest of these trees are ancient. They may have been here before the first humans arrived."

Moon says Robert Graham, who arrived in the area in 1842, protected the old trees which were in demand for ship-building timber.

The installation also reflects the work of many others who had protected and cared for the grove.

Moon says her work also makes reference to the bloodlines of the young tree as seedling pohutukawa trees have been planted from the older trees.

"It is also inspired by the protection that the pohutukawa trees provide for us as we picnic and shelter here."

Moon is particularly interested in creating temporary or ephemeral works - made of, then taken away by nature. She is interested in the interplay between wilderness and the mansion (Couldrey House) and the cultivated garden full of flamboyant exotics and green lush native bush.

One delicate installation is her royal carpet in the grounds of the historic house.

Moon has collected lace-like mahoe leaf skeletons which she has assembled vertically on the lawn to create a narrow pathway to the verandah which she says has a "sort of conversation" with the lacy curtains of the homestead.

"The indigenous lace of Aotearoa meets the introduced lace brought to New Zealand by early European settlers."

The royal twist comes from stories about Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip visiting Wenderholm in 1953.

Nearby, Moon has arranged magnolia tree seeds in rings which have been added to by the public.

Such trees are like mother trees, attracting birds which also drop seeds of native trees.

"I am interested in how the native fauna is growing up underneath these mother trees and slowly taking back the garden."

In another piece she has used the stripped-back spikes of nikau leaves to create the frame of a hut, like those Maori provided for European immigrants to nearby Puhoi.

Moon says the inspiration for all her works in the past few weeks has come from the natural ecosystems of the park, and the history of human survival within them.

The works will be photographed and left for nature to reclaim and people to alter and enjoy.

Also creating artwork is Waitakere painter Derek March who is based at the Atiu Creek Regional Park on the Kaipara Harbour.

March is interested in wetlands, waterways and their inhabitants.

Moon's month-long residency at Wenderholm Regional Park ends this weekend and she is available to talk about her work on Saturday and Sunday, from 1-2pm.