Peak farm­ers fed up with visi­tors

Havelock North Village Press - - News -

Te Mata Peak farm­ers are fed up with the pub­lic “dis­re­spect­ing” and dam­ag­ing their land.

Tau­roa Trust co-owner Heather Smith said gates were reg­u­larly left open, which caused stock to move into un­wanted ar­eas, and rub­bish had been dumped.

Re­cently one of her neigh­bour’s sheep had been at­tacked by a dog, which had been off the leash, Smith said. The sheep sur­vived.

“The [dog] owner was quite dis­tressed and she han­dled it very well, but for ev­ery one of her there’s oth­ers who don’t do any­thing.”

Smith said it was be­com­ing a big headache and a fi­nan­cial bur­den.

“Farm­ing is hard to make a buck and to have any­thing ex­tra go on is not okay.

“Peo­ple aren’t think­ing that this is some­body’s liveli­hood and time.”

She urged peo­ple to be care­ful and be thought­ful when wan­der­ing through farms on the moun­tain.

“We are a cer­ti­fied or­ganic farm and we are try­ing to do well by the com­mu­nity, and with the new health and safety rules it is a whole other is­sue for us to worry about.”

An­other farmer, who did not wish to be named, said things had be­come pro­gres­sively worse on Te Mata Peak over the past five years.

Some peo­ple had even shot ducks on his prop­erty, and chopped branches down for fire­wood.

“At week­ends, peo­ple come down on to our riverbed and teach their kids how to do wheel­ies on our good grass among our cows and calves — they have got no idea.”

In the past month, he had to sep­a­rate sev­eral mobs of cat­tle, which had come to­gether, only to find it had hap­pened again a fort­night later.

“Peo­ple don’t re­alise the dam­age they can do and the time it takes to re-do it all.

“I don’t mind peo­ple walk­ing from the peak down to the bridge, but they have got to learn to shut gates and re­spect the prop­erty.”

The fi­nal straw was yes­ter­day morn­ing, when he found his cows had wan­dered on to the road, de­spite the gate hav­ing wire around it and a latch.

“Some­one has ob­vi­ously opened the gate, let them out and then closed the gate back up.

“That’s the only way I can see how they got out.”

Fed­er­ated Farm­ers Hawke’s Bay pres­i­dent Jim Gal­loway said re­spect of prop­erty was an is­sue for farm­ers around the coun­try.

“It is about be­ing con­sid­er­ate and think­ing be­fore you do things. Farm­ers don’t want to shut the gate on peo­ple, but if too much hap­pens where peo­ple take ad­van­tage of the gen­eros­ity of be­ing al­lowed on some­one’s prop­erty, or start leav­ing gates open and dump­ing rub­bish il­le­gally, farm­ers will start look­ing at clos­ing gates and that is not some­thing we want to hap­pen.”

PHOTO / WAR­REN BUCK­LAND

Heather Smith farms land on the south­ern bor­der of Te Mata Peak park and has trou­ble with stray dogs and peo­ple leav­ing farm gates open.

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