A dumped fridge at the back of a serene conservation campground in Hikuai is the latest example of kiwi holidaymakers or locals failing to care for our own backyard.
The fridge and washing line, which was dumped at a DoC car park at the entrance to forest tracks on Puketui Valley Rd, was taken away by staff last week after it was reported by the HC Post.
The area known as Broken Hills in the Coromandel Forest Park offers camping, gold mining relics to explore and walking tracks, tranquil pools and forested hills where glow worms, cave weta and native birds thrive.
DoC says sadly it's New Zealanders - and possibly even locals - rather than overseas visitors, likely to blame for persistent dumping.
"We have some issues with littering and dumping of rubbish in DoC's Hauraki District which seems to be connected to the influx of visitors in the summer holiday season," says Avi Holzapfel, Hauraki District Ops Manager for DoC.
"Sadly, there are also some places where year-round we are encountering the dumping of household and industrial waste on public conservation land, in particular at road ends.
"Whiteware, like the fridge at Puketui, crops up from time to time - so people do go to quite some effort to dump this sort of thing.
"That this seems to be done by local residents is particularly frustrating – this is their community and their nature.
"As well as illegal and unsightly, dumping of such waste often presents health and safety issues for the public, risks for our staff doing the clean-up, and compromises the ecosystems of these areas. It also impacts on the enjoyment of others who come to these places to walk or hunt."
Avi said all New Zealanders, not just visitors, need to show respect and care for the environment and support DoC staff in making Papatuanuku thrive.
"My team has far more important things to do than clean up after other people who dump rubbish. These sort of tasks take the team away from core conservation work.
"There seems to be a small portion of our community who think it's okay to dump rubbish. But as we become more mindful about the environment and global warming and conservation in general, it's a no-brainer to dispose of your waste appropriately.
"We need people to take on the tiaki promise and commit to caring for New Zealand for now, and future generations."
Rubbish in pre-paid, blue council bags and recycling can be left after-hours at no charge at four Refuse Transfer Stations (RTS), including one each in Pauanui and Tairua. It costs $10 per item for whiteware.
- People who see illegal dumping on conservation land can report it to 0800 DOC HOT. The team appreciate information such as vehicle registration numbers and photographs.