Introduction

Following a recent prosecution in the Wairoa District Court, DOC is warning the public not to remove trees on public conservation land.

East Coast District Conservation Services Manager, John Lucas said an illegal firewood operation was uncovered in Opoutama conservation area (near Mahia) a year ago.

“We are pleased with the outcome and message it sends that DOC will not tolerate individual’s cutting down trees on public conservation land.”

Arthur Wohlk, 55, contractor of Opoutama pleaded guilty in the Wairoa District Court to two charges under the Conservation Act.

Mr Wohlk is to pay reparation to DOC of $5000 and community work of 225 hours.

Mr Wohlk cut down and removed 32 trees from the conservation area which were turned into firewood for sale. He was trespassed from the conservation area on two occasions and was aware it was public conservation land.

He created a 215 metre track through the conservation area and used heavy machinery which damaged the natural features of the conservation area.

“The damage Mr Wohlk caused showed disregard to the conservation area and was a money making exercise that proved costly. The prosecution should be a deterrent to others” said Mr Lucas.

People wanting to know more about conservation areas and reserves should contact their local DOC office.

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