Residents angry at mural tagging

By Doug Laing

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The tagging of a mural erected in the new Harakeke Walkway in Napier less than a week before a ceremony to bless and open the greenbelt redevelopment has annoyed locals who say it is time for their community to look after the environment in which they live.

The mural, telling the story of the area, was placed on a corrugated iron fence on Friday, on the Williams St side of the flax-lined walkway and realigned stream developed by the Hawke's Bay Regional Council and the Napier City Council on a reserve stretching from Chambers St to Nash St.

It was tagged with paint on Monday night or early yesterday, but won't daunt Graffiti Doctor Phil Duffy, who was quickly on the job removing the tag, which was among several inflicted on the area.

School students and people on community work sentences with the Corrections Department have had to clean others adorning fences lining the reserve boundaries, but also tagged was a carved wooden pou at one of the entrances, and a bridge on a walkway from Williams St to Lister Cres.

Williams St resident Syd Waiwiri, whose wife passed away recently, and who has become increasingly proud of the walkway with its new plants, and water and bird, was dismayed when he saw the tagging for the first time.

"If we don't look after what is around us we will lose it," he said.

Napier City Council safer community co-ordinator Robyn Smith said she believed the people of the area were becoming increasingly concerned for their environment, and would be annoyed by the vandalism, likely to have been the work of young people with little idea of the impact of what they were doing.

Maraenui Neighbourhood Policing team member Mark Johnston said it was possible also the tagging had been done by someone who was new to the area. Police weren't familiar with the "Zeus" tag on the mural, and "God Z" on the adjacent pavement, and schools were being asked if their students or families could help identify who was responsible, to prevent further damage.

The walkway will be opened with a small ceremony at the Chambers St entrance starring at 10am tomorrow.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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