Te Mata plantings destroyed


A hard-working volunteer is outraged after a "hoon", who broke into Te Mata Peak to drive off-road, destroyed more than 30 native trees that took four years of hard work to grow.

On Saturday morning, a car was found crashed down a bank at the Havelock North attraction, after access gates had been cut and tracks driven through gardens.

Friends of Te Mata Peak volunteer Mike Lusk said he was part of a group who regularly planted and maintained trees on the Peak. Then, on Saturday morning, 31 of them were snapped off at the ground and destroyed.

"I am very upset to find that a vehicle has been taken up to the high lookout in the newly planted area on the east side of Te Mata Peak Rd and that it has been driven over a number of trees planted mostly by our group," he said.

There were 23 destroyed cabbage trees up to 1.75m tall, four manuka trees 1.5m tall and 4 eucalypts up to 5m tall.

"The planting was done about four years ago and the trees are really doing well. Because it is a pretty tough environment for small trees, there has been considerable effort put in to get them established so well.

"This has involved repeated mulching, releasing and protection from browsing hares and rabbits. Some of the smaller ones may recover if staked and cared for over the coming summer but they will be set back.

"Three of the four eucalypts are about 5m tall and are snapped off at ground level - I don't expect them to sprout from the base."

Mr Lusk said the group fundraised money to do their plantings, and volunteered their time and effort most weekends to the cause.

Hastings Police Senior Sergeant Luke Shadbolt said the group were "hooning around up there and left the road".

He said charges might follow but further details were unavailable last night.

It was believed no one was injured.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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