Monday, July 15, 2024

Auckland council appeal after vandal attacks on public art

Auckland Council has urged residents to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour to Police, following a spate of thefts and vandalism to public art pieces across the region.  

Chair of the Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committee, Councillor Alf Filipaina says he is disappointed with the blatant disregard for public property.

“It is beyond frustrating that these incidents keep happening, and that those committing these acts have no pride in their city, or regard for their fellow Aucklanders,” he said.

“We are blessed to have unique art pieces across the region that we can visit freely. This is not a privilege enjoyed in other places, and it upsets me that these opportunities are not only being taken for granted by some, but that through these mindless acts, they are also being taken away from those who would appreciate them. It simply has to stop.”

The Valkyrie Fountain prior to being attacked by vandals.

Most recently, the bronze figurine and base from The Valkyrie Fountain in Auckland Domain were stolen, with the supporting marble pillar severely damaged; and earlier this month, the Ōwairaka – Statue of a cloaked woman by Christine Hellyar was damaged beyond repair, Council said in a statement.

Other works that have recently been victim of theft or wilful damage include Francis Upritchard’s LoafersThe Five Rams in Myers Park and the Matakana War Memorial.

Police are advising the public to contact 111 immediately if they witness an offence taking place or to contact 105 if they have any information on the whereabouts of stolen property.

Council says reports of graffiti across the region are also increasing.

“The council prioritises the quick removal of graffiti – particularly offensive graffiti, however the ability to do this is impacted by staff shortages due to Covid-19 isolation requirements and council service providers playing catch up following periods of lockdown,” it said.

In this financial year to date, there has been over 66,000 reports of graffiti across the region, with 2,117 requests for service (RFS) made to the council. In the last financial year, there were just over 70,000 reported incidents, but in comparison, only 1,375 requests for service.

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