Gate crashers and plant thieves rack up unwelcome costs for New Plymouth ratepayers

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Cars have smashed into two sets of gates at New Plymouth parks and more than $2000 worth of plants ripped from the ground at Pukekura Park leaving New Plymouth District Council staff disappointed and cleaning up the mess.


Overnight on Monday 6 November, a vehicle rammed the gates at the Buller Street entrance to East End Reserve and on Tuesday at around 10.30am a car was seen hitting the entrance sign and guard-rail at Bromley Place Reserve.   


The East End Reserve gates were taken away for repairs at a cost of around $1,000 while repairs at Bromley Place Reserve are expected to be around $1500.


NPDC Parks and Open Spaces Manager Conrad Pattison says in Tuesday’s incident, the car was also damaged with two women seen picking up the front bumper of the vehicle, putting it back in the car, which then drove away.


“In the incident at Bromley Place [Reserve] it’s not clear if it was deliberate or the driver lost control and we really hope the people involved in were not hurt. Apart from the damage, there is a playground relatively close which fortunately there were no children on it at the time.”


Meanwhile staff at NPDC’s Pukekura Park have been left disheartened by the more than $2000 worth of nikau palms removed from over the last few weeks – destroying their hard work.  


The latest casualties are one-metre-tall trees taken the Shortland Street entrances and the banks of the Serpentine, not far from the Boat Shed Bridge.


“These are heavy nikau palms – it would have taken a lot of effort to remove them and it’s just so brazen,” says Pukekura Park Curator Sheryl Clyma.


“We’re developing these areas for the community to enjoy, and the staff are really disheartened to see their work destroyed.”


She says anyone who may have seen anything suspicious or knows of any unusual movement of these large plants can approach one of our team, or report it to the Police.


At Pukekura Park, which is a Garden of National Significance and holds the Green Flag international accreditation, plant theft is an ongoing problem.



  • Vandals cost NPDC ratepayers more than $100k each year in repairs.
  • NPDC has a zero-tolerance policy towards vandalism including graffiti and damage to buildings like public toilets and other facilities.
  • NPDC manages 1600 hectares of parks and reserves and 82km of walkways.We also look after 51 public toilets from Tongapōrutu in the north to Ōkato in the south.​

Caption: Pukekura Park senior field staffer, Ray Pope near where one of the nikau palms have been ripped out of the ground.