Repeated acts of vandalism at historic picnic area frustrate DOC
Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication.
IntroductionRepeated acts of vandalism at the Pourakino Picnic Area-Mores Top Mill site near Otautau could lead to DOC removing its facilities and resources from the area.
Date: 12 May 2010
Repeated acts of vandalism at the Pourakino Picnic Area-Mores Top Mill site near Otautau could lead to the Department of Conservation (DOC) removing its facilities and resources from the area.
DOC staff investigate the damage
caused by vandals at the Pourakino
Picnic Area – Mores Top Mill site
The latest damage to the scenic picnic spot has been caused by four - wheel drivers leaving the grass ripped up and resembling a muddy bog.
DOC Programme Manager Recreation/Historic Brian Murphy said the ongoing vandalism, including the damage caused by vehicles and the shooting of signs and trees, will determine the amount of resources allocated to the area.
“One night’s fun for these guys is several months work for us and it means that other recreational users, like families wanting to have a picnic here, cannot enjoy this area,” Mr Murphy said.
The Department has spent thousands of dollars annually repairing the damage vandals have caused to the area, which is recognised locally and nationally for its historical significance.
Many meetings have been held with the local community to address the vandalism issues, including considering re-developing the site to minimise the grass area. The historic Johnston locomotive “Black Maria” has already been removed for possible restoration and to prevent further vandalism.
Past initiatives, including putting a chain across the access road into the picnic area ensuring foot access only, have also been hampered by vandals cutting the chain with bolt cutters.
“We’ve got to make some decisions and the more this type of thing keeps happening - the more difficult it is for us to justify putting more resources into this area,” Mr Murphy said.
Anyone who has information on the recent vandalism is encouraged to contact the Otautau police or the DOC Invercargill Office.
A seven tonne 1902 Johnstone Locomotive, known as the “Black Maria” was removed from the site in December 2008 because of repeated acts of vandalism. The locomotive was to be returned to the site but as vandalism has continued it is being stored at a secure site in Invercargill.
The Black Maria at Pourakino was built in Invercargill and was used at the Mores’ Mill to transport timber to the Longwoods siding where the timber was then transferred onto the national railway system.