DOC has been alerted to a large number of dying pines in the Opoutere Reserve on the Coromandel Peninsula. DOC rangers visited the site and found that the trees are being drilled and poisoned.
Half a dozen holes like this are in each tree
Because of the increased risk of dead branches or whole trees falling on people, one DOC track had to be closed and signs advising of the danger have been put in place. DOC will now quantify the extent of the poisoning and look at options for the site with regard to visitor safety.
Historically, DOC Hauraki has had a policy of removing individual old pines that presented an unacceptable risk to visitors or were causing tidal erosion to historic middens at the site. This deliberate act of vandalism is not supported by DOC.
DOC Hauraki Operations Manager, Avi Holzapfel said, "This is a huge disappointment. These are large trees in an area of important historic sites and sensitive biodiversity.
"Opoutere is a significant nesting place for the endangered New Zealand dotterel and these deliberate actions limit options for management of the area and have put visitors in extreme danger."
DOC has contacted iwi, the local community and the local police have also been informed.