Phil Twyford is walking the talk. The Te Atatu MP put on his walking shoes and tackled the 70km Hillary Trail through the Waitakere Ranges in a bid to raise public awareness of the kauri dieback disease. Mr Twyford was joined along the way by scientists who have been studying the disease he says is both heartbreaking and enlightening. "To get to take on the trail with these scientists has been like getting a crash course in botany. The funding for the research into the disease is due to finish midway through next year," he says. "At this point we don't know much about the problem but there needs to be government funded research into the science and a campaign to teach the public about what they need to do." Mr Twyford says the eco system a Kauri exists in is very specialised and up to 70 other plant species rely on them, all of which would be wiped out if the Phytophthora taxon agathis (PTA) disease keeps spreading. The five-year research programme is primarily funded by $4.8 million of government money but the Primary Industries Ministry says it will not seek another round of funding. Eleven per cent of Kauri in the ranges are affected and no cure has been found.