Auckland vandals hack down nearly 60 native trees in three months, council says | #emailsecurity | #phishing | #ransomware

Auckland Council/Supplied

Shade-providing kānuka were hacked down and dumped into a spawning site for endangered inanga in Te Atatū Pensinsula.

Vandals have attacked 173 native trees across Tāmaki Makaurau during the Covid-19 Delta lockdown, with 57 trees removed entirely.

Auckland Council says it will not hesitate to prosecute those responsible for the attacks, which took place on council land.

The council has referred two perpetrators for prosecution and another two cases are pending.

Meanwhile, two investigations into tree poisoning are ongoing, with no suspects found so far.

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They include an incident at Hinemoa Reserve in Birkenhead where four totara and one rimu were poisoned and are unlikely to survive.

Ricky Wilson/Stuff

“If we find those responsible, we will not hesitate to prosecute,” Councillor Alf Filipaina said.

The other, on Takapuna Beach, saw 23 trees and shrubs at Te Uru Tapu (The Sacred Grove) vandalised earlier this year.

Among the sites damaged by felling is a cultivated spawning stream for inanga on the Te Atatū Peninsula, which had several large kanuka dropped into it.

That was despite a sign warning locals of the growing whitebait in the water.

In the past six months, the Henderson-Massey and Hibiscus and Bays local board areas have been hit the hardest, with 30 related complaints between them.

Auckland Council/Supplied

Auckland Council photographed this lot of native trees, including an old pōhutukawa, chopped up on the Marina Esplanade Reserve at Mairangi Bay. The council says so far, no suspects have yet been identified and investigations are still ongoing into what happened.

Manukau ward councillor Alf Filipaina, who is the chairman of the parks, arts, community and events committee, said the incidents were “disappointing and unnecessary”.

“We don’t have many of these spawning sites left in the urban parts of Auckland and retaining these sites is so important.”

The spawning site had been built by local volunteers, and the trees above the stream were providing shade to protect the endangered inanga from the harsh sun, he said.

“If anyone has any information, we’d welcome them contacting Auckland Council.


North Shore locals are dismayed that the branch of a pōhutukawa tree has been sawed off, just days after the council asked for feedback on its future. (Video first published November 2020)

“If we find those responsible, we will not hesitate to prosecute.”

David Stejskal, Auckland Council’s regional arborist and ecological manager said the damage would be disappointing for the volunteers behind the replanting and restoration efforts.

“Our coastal esplanade reserves have been retained and held in public ownership for the benefit of all Aucklanders to enjoy,” he said in a statement.

“They’re public assets that help make Auckland such a desirable place to live. The deliberate and destructive vandalism is not on, and we will do everything we can to find the culprits and hold them to account.”

Auckland Council takes requests to maintain or prune its trees, the statement added. Some trees are protected by the Auckland Unitary Plan and need resource consent to remove or trim them.

Damage to council-owned trees is a crime under the Local Government Act 2002, and breaches can lead to legal action and fines.

Under the Resource Management Act, people who damage native trees could be jailed for up to two years, or be fined up to $300,000. A company damaging native trees is liable to be fined $600,000.

To report damage to trees on council parks or reserves, contact Auckland Council on 09 301 0101 or email:

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