Vegan's photo promotes Maccas

00:02, Mar 26 2013
Rough ride: The photo of vegan Matt Gerstenberger at the McDonald’s Wainuiomata drive-through was taken down as soon as the outlet was alerted to the problem.

They don't make a McVegan burger, do they?

GNS seismologist Matt Gerstenberger was shaken and a little angry to learn a photo of himself mountainbiking was being used without his permission on a large mural at McDonald's Wainuiomata.

What left a particularly sour taste is that he has been a vegan for nearly 20 years.

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UNDERSTANDABLY UPSET: Matt Gerstenberger has been a vegan for many years, but his image was used unauthorised on a McDonalds promotion.

Fellow GNS worker Jeff Lyall took the photo of Matt on the Wainuiomata trail park in 2010. Matt has on the green and black Organic Athlete "Go Vegan" strip he often wears when riding.

Jeff said he has never given anyone permission to copy the photo from his popular mountainbiking blog.

The image may once have been on his Flickr account but he does not think so.


And anyway, Flickr carries the rider "All rights reserved" and unauthorised commercial use of a photograph is not allowed.

The first that McDonald's Wainuiomata owner Chris Boon knew about the photo mural gaffe was when the Hutt News started making inquiries.

Mr Boon had his staff take it down within the hour.

Outdoor images of Wainuiomata by the restaurant's drive- through came from a sign company paid to create the mural.

Mr Boon intended calling the company for an explanation.

He said he "completely understands" why a vegan would not be happy to be associated with a food outlet that used meat.

Mr Gerstenberger, who was not aware of the photo at the drive-through until a friend saw it, could see the funny side but it irked as well.

"The irony is rich but the joke's on me," he said.

He wanted the sign down straight away and perhaps for McDonald's to make a donation to a local charity.

"It's just not me. It's not something I would allow. I haven't stepped inside a McDonald's for 30 years."

Hutt News