Peak farmers fed up with visitors
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.”
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.