Thieves raid community planting

BEN STRANG
Last updated 15:50 15/11/2012
planting
Pulled out: Stakes surround a hole where a kowhai tree was stolen from a planting area next to the Wharemauku Stream.

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Kapiti Observer

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About 50 trees have been taken from a plantation near the Wharemauku Stream in Paraparaumu, including about a third of the shrubs planted only two months ago.

About 1300 trees were planted next to the stream as recently as September, by the Friends of the Wharemauku Stream, Transpower and Raumati South School.

Kapiti Coast District Council biodiversity officer Rob Cross found the plants had been taken on a visit to the site on Friday.

"They've driven in and removed a bollard, which had a padlock, and dumped it in the stream," he said.

"They have scouted out the area. They knew what they were going for. It looks like they've taken care in pulling the plants out, hoping to transplant them somewhere else."

Along with several native shrubs, including hebes, akiraho and akeake, two kowhai trees were stolen from the site.

The kowhai trees stood about two metres tall, and were planted at the site about three months ago.

Mr Cross said the area was planted this year as part of a project to create a wetland on a tributary of the Wharemauku Stream, to help improve water quality.

Transpower's Greenline Programme supported the project, with Transpower staff helping with the plantings.

The theft is the fourth of its kind in the past 12 months in Kapiti, following two from the Nikau reserve area and a theft from the Waikanae Riverbank about a month ago.

Mr Cross said the site will get new plants.

"It's too late to put new plants there this year. It's a shame because it basically sets back the restoration 12 months."

Sergeant Sam Gilpin of Kapiti Police said he was not aware of the most recent theft, but there had been a few tree thefts in the past year.

"I'm not aware of it being a common problem, but we're aware of it."

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- Kapiti Observer

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