A J Seeley's seat set in concrete

GEOFF LEWIS
Last updated 13:17 24/06/2014
 A J Seeley
GEOFF LEWIS/Fairfax NZ

SITTING SPOT: A J Seeley reserve neighbours Jan Wells and Joclyn Thompson with Wild Exposure landscaper Gary Bjerring.

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A replacement park bench for one stolen from the A J Seeley's gully isn't likely to be going anywhere.

A 400kg macrocarpa bench, erected in the reserve in memory of Dr Alwyn Seeley last year, was removed by thieves over the weekend of May 17-18.

Seeley, a Waikato ear, nose and throat surgeon, bought the 2.5ha block in 1953 and spent the next 60 years turning it from a paddock into a bushed reserve. He then gifted it to the people of Hamilton. Seeley died in May 2013.

The replacement bench was fashioned by landscaper Gary Bjerring and his workers from a gum log felled in the Taitua Arboretum. He said the replacement was appropriate as the arboretum, a 25ha tree museum near Dinsdale, had also been donated to the city.

The super-solid sitting spot is concreted in place and hoped to stay there, he said.

Bjerring said he had planted more than 4000 native plants in the reserve over the years and local resident Jan Wells said a group of people would often work on the gully on Mondays.

Barbara Brooks, a member of the Friends of the A J Seeley Gully group, said she used the original seat regularly.

"I'm pretty disappointed at the fact that somebody [Seeley] has planted the whole gully and someone has taken it for their own use."

The theft of the original bench has been reported to the police and it can be returned no questions asked. geoff.lewis@fairfaxmedia.co.nz

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