Taratahi students rile residents

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Cornwall and Perrys roads are sites of reckless driving and littering, residents say. PHOTO/ALISA YONG
Cornwall and Perrys roads are sites of reckless driving and littering, residents say. PHOTO/ALISA YONG

People living in Cornwall and Perrys roads in rural Carterton are fed up with what they say is ongoing bad behaviour from Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre students, including rubbish being flung from cars and fences smashed.

Last week Cornwall Rd resident Hugh Gaywood-Eyre spoke out about the issue at a Carterton District Council meeting, bringing along a bag full of roadside rubbish to prove his point.

Mr Gaywood-Eyre, who has lived in the area for about seven years, said the littering and reckless driving had become worse recently, with students "hooning" up and down the road chucking rubbish from cars.

He said there had been a deterioration in behaviour since Taratahi numbers had increased.

Outside the meeting, Mr Gaywood-Eyre said some students treated the environment with contempt.

"You can walk up and down Cornwall Rd and see the rubbish discarded - we don't even take the dogs down to the river, mainly because of the broken glass and the litter ...

there needs to be respect and responsibility.

"It's supposed to be a lovely area to walk down by the river but it isn't because of the litter. It's not a place to take the kids," Mr Gaywood-Eyre said.

The reckless driving, which included speeding, driving without lights and burnouts, could eventually end in a fatal crash, he said.

"I wouldn't feel safe at nighttime if I was walking the dogs, so I don't walk the dogs at night."

He had put up with it for a long time and felt that someone needed to speak out.

Another Cornwall Rd resident, who did not want to be named, said her fence had been crashed into by cars driven by Taratahi students 18 times in the 20 or so years she had lived there.

"They put the pedal to the metal and off they go - very fast."

While the students normally repaired the fences, lack of communication or apology from Taratahi was an issue, she said.

"It's as if it's our fault we live here. A lot of us think that if they packed their bags and left we wouldn't be at all sad."

A Perrys Rd resident said he had grown so used to students crashing cars on the gravel road in the middle of the night, he no longer got out of bed to check. Five or six cars a year end up in a ditch and one or two roll, he said.

"They are just nutters. They come over the top and they fly. They lose control and they think they can handle it ... unfortunately they're going to kill somebody."

Taratahi chief executive Arthur Graves said the training centre took complaints about students' behaviour seriously and he was keen to meet with the mayor of Carterton, neighbours and police to discuss the issue.

"Despite the fact that Taratahi students are not the only young people to use the area for recreation, we have made it clear to those living on the campus that they cannot shy away from their responsibility to be good citizens, abide by the law and be respectful of the neighbours and the environment."

About a fortnight ago, students had been warned bad behaviour would not be tolerated, Mr Graves said.

"If they break the law then we expect the police to be involved. We are working with students to ensure we meet our community responsibilities. As part of finding a solution,

Taratahi is in discussions with Carterton District Council on how we can get more involved in the voluntary stewardship of the area known as 'Stonies' at the end of Perrys Rd on the Waingawa River."

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