River Restoration affected by needless vandalism
The Te Awa River Ride cycleway development is a fantastic opportunity for Waikato RiverCare Incorporated to display its work on the lower Waikato River and the benefits riparian planting provides to river biodiversity.
In August 2015 Waikato RiverCare completed its first planting alongside a popular biking and walking path in the Ngaruawahia area, planting 5081 trees and grasses. The planting project is easily accessible to the public using the cycle trail from either Waikato Esplanade Road or Thomas Street. The excellent project access is great for showcasing the benefits of riparian planting to the public, however project signage is proving to be a popular and easy target for vandals.
Vandals' handiwork on the Te Awa River Ride project sign.
Waikato RiverCare’s operations Manager, Kevin Hutchinson, has had to replace project signs regularly due to signs being graffitied, pulled down and destroyed altogether.
Many people often do not realise that Waikato RiverCare Incorporated is not a government department or organisation and is reliant on sponsors and donations to fund its work on the river and its catchments. Waikato RiverCare does receive excellent support from Crown agencies including the Waikato Regional Council, Waikato District Council and Department of Conservation but Waikato RiverCare is not directly funded by the New Zealand Government.
Waikato RiverCare is a not-for-profit organisation and registered charity dedicated to improving the quality, biodiversity and health of the lower Waikato River and its catchments. The Waikato River is so central to the identity and wellbeing of all Waikato communities our riparian projects provide regional benefits for everyone.
However, every time a sign needs to be replaced due to vandalism, that’s another 25 native plants that will not be planted to improve the health and wellbeing of the river. Planning and accounting for sign vandalism requires Waikato RiverCare to pull money from projects reducing the amount of planting work able to be undertaken at a site.
You can help Waikato RiverCare by reporting any sign vandalism you see occurring, however please ensure your own personal safety at all times and don’t take matters into your our hands.