A shocking photograph has emerged showing a man risking his life posing for selfies at the top of Wairere Falls in the Kaimai Ranges but the Department of Conservation says it is not practical to place barriers at the well-known beauty spot.
The falls are popular for selfies, with risk-takers frequently sharing photos to social media showing themselves perched atop the 153-metre-high waterfall.
Liz Quilty told the Herald that she visited the falls for the first time on Sunday morning and was shocked to find the man posing, saying he spent at least 10 minutes on the edge.
Quilty told the Herald that others at the falls were "not impressed" and gave the man "dirty looks" for his behaviour, which she described as "stupidly dangerous".
She said that he had gone to some trouble to get to the position, but said there was a lack of signage warning visitors to stay away from the edge.
She shared the photo to social media, where users noted that he was taking the dangerous action at a particularly exposed spot, one saying that it would only take "one gust of wind" to dislodge him.
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Craig Summers, the Department of Conservation's Acting Operations Manager for Tauranga told the Herald that the increase in social media has led to this type of activity being more frequently observed and shared.
He said: "While this behaviour is beyond most people's risk threshold, it cannot be legally prohibited nor is it practical to put barriers at the top of the falls.
"In any event, those wishing to take images of this nature would likely climb over barriers and continue to access the top of the falls."
Summers told the Herald that, while the activity appears dangerous, there was no record of serious injury from selfies at the falls.
"We urge people to be considerate both for their own safety and for the comfort of others when visiting Wairere Falls," he said.