Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


DOC rangers were confronted by the complete disappearance of signage along a 3 km stretch of road at historic Te Toto Gorge, near Raglan, last week.

Date:  14 December 2018

Four signs were very cleanly sliced off and removed, which, as Waikato Operations Manager, Ray Scrimgeour, points out, is not just vandalism but theft as well.

The fencing above the stile access to the pedestrian walkway was also removed. One of the signs simply gave the name of the area, Te Toto Gorge Scenic Reserve. The other signs had symbols showing that Freedom Camping is prohibited in the area.

“Unfortunately,” says Ray Scrimgeour, “we can only guess at why these hefty signs were carefully cut down and removed. If people have concerns or grievances, it would be helpful if they come and talk to us, so that we can address their issues. In this case we are left with no clues as to what the issue is, or why someone should do this. All we know is that it is an act of theft and vandalism which we have reported to the police.”

“These actions are costing public money and putting the public at risk. Signage is important for visitors to the area who don’t know where the tracks are, where it is safe to walk, and legal or safe to camp. Neighbouring landowners benefit from informed trampers and campers who know where to walk without crossing land illegally”.

Like the sign removal, the extensive rubbish dumping happening in part of Te Toto Gorge is another “unnecessary cost, and saddening to DOC staff who work hard keeping our natural spaces beautiful for all to share. The huge costs to remove the rubbish tip and restore damaged areas are taking away money and Rangers from much-needed conservation work in Raglan. Keeping New Zealand beautiful is what we do. With more and more people in nature the impacts build up quickly. We are educating summer visitors not to leave litter, as part of a campaign aimed at showing visitors how to “Visit the Kiwi way”; so it is particularly frustrating when we have to devote our limited time and resources to removing rubbish dumped by people in their own backyard!”

DOC is aware of another illegal dump near Raglan. Pakoka Scenic reserve, a small area of native bush, just past Waireinga/Bridal Veil Falls is being severely dumped despite the efforts of the local marae to police it.

“New Zealand is precious, and everyone who lives and travels here has a responsibility to look after it. So if anyone sees any illegal dumping or other destruction or if you have any concerns, contact the DOC Waikato office”


Ray Scrimgeour, DOC Waikato Operations Manager
Phone: +64 7 850 8328
Mobile: +64 27 292 9032

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