19 Jul 2020

DOC fed up with Pureora Forest vandalism thwarting volunteer efforts

12:04 pm on 19 July 2020

The Department of Conservation wants the public to name and shame vandals after a shelter in Pureora Forest was targeted for a second time.

Pureora Forest

Pureora Forest Photo: Supplied / DOC

The shelter, which is used by trampers, quad bikers or mountain bikers, was damaged in a suspicious fire in late 2019.

It was repaired by volunteers but subsequently targeted in June by vandals who have daubed it in graffti.

DOC Maniapoto District operations manager Oscar Emery said the vandalism was "very frustrating" and undermined the effort of volunteers.

"We want the public to name and shame vandals because we don't have the resources to police incidents like this," Emery said.

"The public is key to helping us get to the bottom of this."

The shelter, which is a 30-minute bike ride into the Pureora Forest, will again be fixed by volunteers. Despite that, Emery said it would still cost about more than a $1000 for materials.

"We still need to send our staff out there for core conservation work to what is ultimately clean-up jobs," he said.

"We'd rather be spending that money, time and effort elsewhere - not cleaning up after people who have trashed taxpayer-funded assets."

Earlier this year, vandals also used an angle grinder to cut padlocks on bollards on the Maramataha Bridge and Okauaka Bridge, which are in the Pureora forest. A number of other bollards and gates were compromised and damage was caused to bridges and track.

Emery said the vandalism was getting worse on DOC sites, but he noted there was a spike during Covid-19 alert level 4.

He said people should not intervene if they caught someone acting illegally on DOC land.

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