People ignore warnings and risk life on Mercer Bay cliffs near Piha, Auckland
Selfie-takers are risking their lives at the tallest cliffs in Auckland.
People are ignoring safety barriers and precautions in order to post photos of themselves at the "frighteningly dangerous" cliff-edge at Mercer Bay, south of the iconic Piha Beach.
The photos and videos include selfies, snapshots and drone images of people on the cliff edge, which tower some 200 metres over the rocks and sea sea below.
"You wouldn't come back from falling off those places," said Sandra Coney, a veteran west Auckland politician who helped design public access to the area.
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"What's there has been very well thought out in the past," she said.
"But at the time when all those structures were put in the whole selfie phenomenon hadn't arrived."
Coney said she was not aware of anyone accidently falling to their death at Mercer Bay in the past decade.
But the edge was crumbly and unstable in places and one's life was not worth the "egotistical" taking of a photograph.
"You wonder how much they are actually aware of and enjoying the place."
Former Waitakere City mayor Sir Bob Harvey lived in KareKare, which bordered Mercer Bay, and said the cliffs were "frighteningly dangerous".
"They are absolutely fatal for people stepping over the railings," he said.
"It's really appropriate for you to warn people of the stupidity of going near the cliff face."
Graham Valentine has lived for 13 years on Log Race Rd, near the start of the track that winds along the clifftop with breathtaking views.
There were no places where people could slip and fall unless they chose to go to the edge, he said.
"You don't see the older people climbing outside [the barriers] being stupid," the 74-year-old said.
Valentine said the council was not at fault as it was doing its best, with signage "there to be ignored" and guard rails "a challenge for someone to climb over".
The surf lifesaver said people taking such photos was an issue everywhere, but they also put in danger those who might have to rescue them or recover a body.
"I can't understand . . . why they are not fined for it," he said.