Raglan's straight-shooting sign warning flour-hunting visitors to "go home" has fallen victim to "bureaucracy" little more than a day after it was put at the entrance to the popular Waikato beach town.
The $600 sign didn't mince words for arriving out-of-towners.
"If it's not your home, go home ... and don't buy up all our flour!", the sign stated.
It went up on Friday, after Waikato Regional Councillor and Raglan resident Fred Lichtwark had a scone-making emergency.
His click-and-collect order for milk, bread, butter, flour, raisins and sparkling water arrived with just raisins and sparkling water despite no indication earlier in the week of shortages, queues or panic buying.
Lichtwark expressed his frustration to the Raglan Community Charitable Trust after he said the council rejected his request for a sign.
The trust paid for the sign, but today trust member Fiona Edwards discovered the sign was missing.
CCTV footage from a nearby business revealed a man wearing stubbie shorts and driving a white ute removing the sign, Lichtwark said.
Edwards called police to report what she believed was a theft.
As she waited on hold, trust chairman Peter Storey - who was not at that stage aware of the sign's disappearance - was being contacted by the man in the stubbie shorts.
The sign had not been stolen, Storey said the man explained, Waikato District Council civil defence had decided the sign should come down.
"His words were, 'Its words were divisive, it was causing vigilantism and it wasn't sending an appropriate message'."
The council later told the Herald the sign was taken down "because we thought it was the right thing to do", and that it was "not being mindful of kindness" for those from neighbouring communities.
Storey was "blown away" by the move, especially given the widespread publicity the sign had received on social and mainstream media, he said.
"Why pull down something when the message is getting through? Because we didn't obey their bureaucratic process?
"I understand they've got a job to do but this is nonsense because, basically, they're going to put another sign up that will say the same thing. I think our sign will be more read actually. If they engage a person to do it will probably cost them $2000 or $3000. I think it's frankly a waste of money."
Storey understood from his conversation with the civil defence worker a proper "Covid-19 sign with consistent Government messaging" would replace the removed sign.
But council local controller Merv Balloch indicated a replacement sign was not certain.
"We are happy to work with the community to put up and pay for a more appropriate sign."
The original, he said, "did not have the support of the community, the community trust or iwi and therefore the decision was made to have it removed".
But the council supported what those behind the sign were trying to do, Balloch said.
"However, we felt it excluded communities in neighbouring Te Mata or Te Uku who may need to use the essential services in Raglan and therefore the message wasn't being mindful of kindness."
The council was this week working with the New Zealand Transport Agency to put out signs about not travelling during the Easter break.
"Our number one focus this week is on making sure everyone remains in their bubble and that people do not travel to holiday hotspots such as Raglan, Kawhia, Turangi, the Coromandel Peninsula and Taupo."