The wilful vandalism at Napier Hill Cemetery adds a macabre note to what would otherwise be thought mindless vandalism.

Miscreants, in recent weeks, have for whatever reason gone out of their way to wreck much of the gentrification and plantings that volunteers have spent hours establishing at the historic hill cemetery adjacent to the Botanical Gardens.

"It's just crazy," said local historian and writer Peter Wells, a member of the Greening the Graveyard group.

"A person, or persons unknown, have taken it upon themselves to wrench out and destroy plants wholesale, including those which were donated to us."


Idiots had also removed a rose bush which had been planted by a family in memory of a loved one.

"I can't tell you how devastating this is to the group who garden with goodwill and hard work."

Sadly, such are the vagaries of the human condition, that the act of beautifying anything carries a risk.

After all, for some it's a red flag and creates a temptation to destroy. Sandy beaches are left untouched - but how long does a crafted sandcastle last before it's kicked?

This destruction is distinct to tagging, which is of course is authored vandalism. Damage such as the cemetery's leaves no signature.

Given that, and given the scene of the crime, the inference is that the intention wasn't to destroy, but to offend.

And to that end they've been wildly successful.

There's a wealth of pop-psychology on the motivation, or lack thereof, of the offenders.


It's likely the acts are a protest; an attempt to level the playing field for someone not happy with their lot.

Some have said these people have no idea what sanctity is. But sadly they do, as the intention was to crush it and pique anger and disbelief as a consequence.

Understandably these acts have so upset the volunteers and whanau of those whose families lay to rest.

I'd be nice to think some introspection and a fleeting moment of empathy would curb further acts - but that may be a little aspirational.