Bach owners returning at the start of summer to find that trees have grown in their absence are being blamed for recent cases of tree vandalism in the Thames-Coromandel district.
Mayor Sandra Goudie says the vandalism has put a dampener on the new season for many communities, and the council is fighting back with large signs and replanting of new trees to replace those cut or poisoned seemingly to open up views.
In the Mercury Bay area the local community board is getting large signs put up in the place where the pohutukawa were destroyed.
Eight pohutukawa trees on the Taputapuatea Spit in Whitianga were cut down recently and approximately a dozen pine trees have been vandalised at the Pauanui Estuary near Pleasant Point.
Pohutukawa and pine trees have been targeted recently in Thames-Coromandel Our council takes this sort of vandalism very seriously and we ask the community to be vigilant and support us in preventing this sort of wilful damage to our trees.
"These are now dying and will be removed for safety reasons; however we're looking at replanting in the future.
"We've also replaced various trees on the harbour front in Tairua as tree poisoning continues there," a Thames-Coromandel District Council media statement says.
"The cutting down of the pohutukawa trees on the Taputapuatea Spit is a sad and senseless act," says Mayor Sandra Goudie.
"Our iconic, native pohutukawa trees are under enough stress from factors such as myrtle rust as it is, and this is an entirely preventable incident."
Myrtle rust, an airborne fungal disease that threatens the iconic pohutukawa and other trees in its family, was detected on a tree outside council offices in Whitianga and in Waitete Bay on the Coromandel.
Over the years there have been cases where trees that may have grown higher or developed bigger branches are poisoned or vandalised because they're blocking a bit of somebody's view.
Cases of tree destruction have been taken to court when enough evidence for prosecution has been gathered and in one case, in 2007, the district council was successful in bringing a $70,000 fine against a landowner who removed trees on a reserve for view purposes.
"Our council takes this sort of vandalism very seriously and we ask the community to be vigilant and support us in preventing this sort of wilful damage to our trees," Sandra says.
"Tell us or contact the police directly if you know anything about this particular event or if you have any concerns about anything similar in the future.
"We often find more incidents happen towards summer, particularly when people come back to their bach to find trees have grown. It's a great shame someone would resort to killing our beautiful native coastal trees on a public reserve that are there for the enjoyment of everybody," says Sandra.
"If you have an issue with a tree come into one of our offices and talk about it. In many cases there may be professional tree management options that might help. An individual may benefit from this vandalism, but the general ratepayer picks up the cost of tree works. That's why council is keen in all cases of tree vandalism, to recover costs."