Killing for a better view
Trees across the Coromandel Peninsula have become targets for vandalism as property owners look to preserve their views.
In recent weeks, eight po¯ hutukawa trees on the Taputapuatea Spit in Whitianga have been cut down.
Approximately a dozen pine trees at the Pauanui Estuary have also ben vandalised. As a result, they started to die and had to be removed for safety reasons.
There have been cases over the years where trees were poisoned or vandalised because they blocked somebody’s view, according to ThamesCoromandel District Council.
In 2007, the council was successful in bringing a $70,000 fine against a landowner who removed trees on a reserve for view purposes.
The Mercury Bay Community Board are putting signs in place of the removed trees that read: ‘‘This sign replaces a tree intentionally destroyed by selfish vandals’’.
TCDC spokesperson Laurna White said the council needs to rely on the public to inform them about vandalism and take photos of it.
She said other surveillance methods, such as installing CCTV, would not be as effective. ‘‘We can’t predict what areas are going to be targeted, so CCTV is not the most cost effective or useful way to catch someone in the act.’’
Mayor Sandra Goudie said tree vandalism often increased towards summer, ‘‘particularly when people come back to their bach to find trees have grown’’.
She said it was a sad and senseless act. ‘‘It’s a great shame someone would resort to killing our beautiful native coastal trees on a public reserve that are there for the enjoyment of everybody.’’
The council are looking to re-plant in the future.
Mercury Bay Community Board members with signage going in place of vandalised trees.