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Cleaning station replaced after ‘selfish’ theft

11 December 2013

A boot cleaning station at Hannafords Wharf, Te Kouma has been replaced by our Council after the previous one was stolen less than 24 hours after being installed last week

Photo from WRC

It’s believed it may have been pulled out using a vehicle.

The boot cleaning station – at the wharf near Coromandel town where many Auckland visitors arrive by ferry - was to help stop the spread of kauri dieback disease into the district. Its installation involved TCDC, the regional council, ferry operators 360 Discovery and the multi-agency Kauri Dieback Programme.

However, the station, which featured a stainless steel tray and was worth about $1600 all up, was stolen in a “selfish and stupid” act, says Waikatio Regional Council biosecurity group manager John Simmons.

“This station was designed to protect the district’s iconic kauri and I’m just appalled that someone has decided to steal it for whatever reason for their own ends," says Mr Simmons.

“However, we compliment TCDC on swiftly developing and firmly securing a replacement cleaning station which consists of a mat in a larger stainless steel tray. We would like anyone with information on this theft to contact either the police, the regional council or TCDC. People need to be held to account for this selfish act," says Mr Simmons.

In the meantime, agencies working together on halting the spread of kauri dieback to the Coromandel will be putting warning signs up on other wharves in the district.

“We want people coming into the district to be especially careful about taking measures to stop kauri dieback spreading,” said TCDC’s Parks Contracts manager Derek Thompson.

To help keep the disease from Coromandel and the Waikato generally, here are some key tips for residents and visitors alike:

  • Remove all soil from your footwear – it only takes a speck of dirt to infect a tree.
  • Spray footwear with disinfectant to sterilise any remaining dirt.
  • Clean your footwear and other gear before and after forest visits.
  • Stay on the track and off kauri roots.

These tips remain very important despite a recent Waikato survey, mostly at Coromandel sites, not detecting any signs of kauri dieback, said Mr Simmons.

“We can’t be complacent. To help the Waikato be kauri dieback-free, ensure footwear, tramping gear and equipment are thoroughly cleaned before entering forests and thoroughly cleaned again afterwards,” said Mr Simmons.

More information is available at www.kauridieback.co.nz

Download a high resolution version of the photo here. (JPG 5MB)