Opononi's public toilets have been repainted, or, as Omapere couple Norma Lyon and Marcel Pouly described it, "horribly vandalised."

They discovered last week that the kowhai mural that had "saved" a "rather ordinary concrete box" at the wharf had been painted over. The mural had been designed and painted by local artist Bev Cox, with help from the Opononi Area School art department.

They then drove to Freese Park, to find that the second public toilet, which had featured a pohutukawa mural, designed and completed by the same group, had also been painted, leaving only the acknowledgement to the artists and sponsors and a few pohutukawa flowers on an inside wall.

Ms Cox had had no knowledge that the murals, which were paid for by the Kaikohe — Hokianga Community Board, had been or were to be painted over.


Ms Lyon and Mr Pouly wanted to know who was responsible for "this wanton act of vandalism.

If it is the Far North District Council, then shame on them," they said.

"In our opinion the artist, Opononi Area School and the local community, at the very least deserve an apology, with compensation paid to the artists."

Waimamaku resident Peter Oldham said he had placed a request for service with the district council, stating that the toilets had been vandalised. He expected the council to replace the murals, at its cost.

Chief executive Shaun Clarke said yesterday that he had not been aware of the issue.

"We go out of our way to ensure that anyone affected by work is consulted," he said, "and if that hasn't happened this time I will certainly be asking questions."