Vandals Smash Waikumete Cemetery
How absolutely appalling.
As someone with a relative recently buried at Waikumete Cemetery, it’s disgraceful that people would deliberately create an estimated $300,000 worth of vandalism there at the weekend.
They have destroyed historic gravestones and damaged roads, plaques and signage. Some headstones are very intricate and likely to be beyond repair.
In a statement this afternoon, Mayor Len Brown says: ” This attack is an outrage and I appeal to the community to work with the police to bring those responsible to justice and to ensure this kind of vandalism does not occur again.”
Cemetery neighbours were alerted to the incident late on Saturday evening when large numbers of young people entered the site and began smashing up graves in the south-eastern section of the cemetery, near the newly refurbished Chapel of Faith in the Oaks.
Waikumete Cemetery manager Daniel Sales says that 87 headstones have been smashed, damaged or pushed over and estimates that in excess of $300,000 worth of damage has been done.
“Iron railings used to adorn old graves were used to smash these invaluable headstones. Signs, roading areas and plaques have also been damaged and will add considerably to the clean-up costs,” says Mr Sales.
Auckland Council staff are working with Waitakere Police to examine the site, inquire into who carried out the damage and looking into preventing future vandalism.
Waitakere Police Commander Inspector Gary Davey says this type of vandalism is unacceptable in any form of society.
“It’s being treated seriously and a team of police investigators has been assigned to a number of lines of enquiry. We extend our support and sympathy to those who are victims of this vandalism,” he says.
Auckland councillor and Waitakere representative Sandra Coney says it is important that Waikumete Cemetery remains a safe and valued place that celebrates the history of Auckland.
“Waikumete provides a significant amenity for the local community and a heritage assessment of the damage is being undertaken to help plan the repairs,” says Cr Coney.