It appears e-scooters are being stripped for parts before meeting their end at the bottom of Wellington's harbour.

Volunteer divers have fished 19 e-scooters from the water since Wellington City Council launched two e-scooter share schemes - Jump and Flamingo - in June last year.

Operators are licensed for 18 months but have had six months to prove themselves in a trial period. That's now under review and if councillors are happy, a draft policy for micromobility transport will be developed for consultation.

One of the problems local politicians will have to grapple with is how to stop people from throwing the scooters into the harbour.


In the meantime, volunteer divers have taken it upon themselves to retrieve the scooters from their watery graves.

Ghost Fishing is an international team of technically trained divers who remove ghost nets from oceans all over the world.

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New Zealand team leader Rob Wilson said Uber was providing them with co-ordinates for its Jump scooters to assist in the operation.

"Obviously people are sadly throwing them into the ocean.

"I just can't for the life of me fathom why you would utilise something like that and suddenly decide to throw them all in the water."

The team has recovered 19 e-scooters from across both operators and there are at least another six with GPS locations that they are aware of.

A concerning trend Wilson noticed was some scooters were missing parts.

"People are actually cannibalising the scooters as well so we're finding scooters in different states of disassembly because people are pulling the scooters apart to make their own scooters."


"Frankenstein scooters, the mind just boggles."

For scooters which manage to escape the hands of crafty thieves, there's still the fight for survival underwater.

Volunteer divers have fished out 19 e-scooters from Wellington's harbour as well as tens of Onzo bikes. Photo / Supplied.
Volunteer divers have fished out 19 e-scooters from Wellington's harbour as well as tens of Onzo bikes. Photo / Supplied.

Wilson said one scooter was once mistaken for another diver because its light was still working in the depths of the harbour.

"We all carry lights because it is quite gloomy and dark and lights are good for communication. But when we went in a bit closer, lo and behold here's one of the e-scooters sitting on the sea floor, probably been in there for 16-to 20 hours, with the light still on."

Onzo bikes are also ending up in the soup with people riding them off a jump platform and into the sea.

Wilson has lost count of how many bikes they have retrieved.

"If we don't do it, who's going to do it? There's just not many people doing this type of stuff and I see the ocean as really important, especially for the youth and the kids of the future and if we don't try and protect what we have now, there's not going to be anything for them to enjoy."

Flamingo co-founder Nick Hyland said they removed the majority of scooters from the streets each night to mitigate the behaviour, including a full collection on the waterfront every Friday and Saturday night.

The company has donated vouchers and attended a recent quiz night for Ghost Fishing to support the team, he said.

Uber has been approached for comment.