A community with zero tolerance to graffiti vandalism combined with the efforts of organisations like the Manukau Beautification Charitable Trust is helping to boost civic pride across south Auckland.
Since 2001 the trust has provided a free graffiti removal service, run community clean up events and mural projects – all in an effort to keep the community looking good.
Operating across the six southern local board areas of Howick, Franklin, Manurewa, Ōtara-Papatoetoe, Māngere-Ōtāhuhu and Papakura - the trust says while south Auckland has definitely shed its status as the graffiti capital of the south Pacific it is important to keep on top of things.
“Although the trend has been heading downwards since the start of our current contract in 2013, in the last 12 months we attended around 16,000 graffiti incidents with over 35,000 square meters of graffiti removed,” says the trust’s operations manager Scott Henderson.
“Although visible graffiti is nothing like it was 10 years ago, there is still plenty of work to be done in terms of keeping on top of current levels."
Manurewa Local Board chair Angela Dalton and local board member Simeon Brown recently joined the trust on a ‘graffiti run’ to Gallagher Park in Manurewa, to see the trust’s work in action.
They discussed graffiti hotspots in the area, which include the stadium at the park, and where a mural by local schools was installed in 2015 in an effort to combat tagging.
“This is our community, we live here and we all have a part to play in reducing graffiti," says Ms Dalton.
“Early reporting is one way the community can help reduce the likelihood of it reappearing and supporting and taking part in local clean up days and mural projects helps improve civic pride.”
The pair also recognise that less graffiti in our town centres and parks help people to feel safer.
“People like Manukau Beautification Charitable Trust are gold,” Mr Brown enthused.
Auckland Council’s graffiti programme aims to tackle the problem through a combined approach of education, eradication and enforcement.
MBCT handles the eradication side through a combination of ‘pro-active work’, where it goes out each day looking for and removing removing graffiti and ‘re-active work’ where we respond to service requests from council or reports from members of the public.
How you can play your part
If you see graffiti, report it immediately. In most cases, when graffiti is reported it gets removed within 24 hours if not sooner. The fast response sends a message that graffiti will not be tolerated in our communities.
To report graffiti call the trust on 09 269 4080 or 0800 END TAGS or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org alternatively please call Auckland Council on 09 301 0101.
About the Manukau Beautification Trust
Established as a council controlled organisation by the former Manukau City Council, the trust has a contract with Auckland Council to remove graffiti in south Auckland.
It also has a graffiti education programme in primary schools and operating on a social enterprise business model, injects the profits from their service contracts into programmes that inspire communities to protect and beautify the environment.
It also runs annual clean-ups of town centres across the south and for the past five years have been working alongside the Department of Corrections, which is helping with painting out tags and preparing mural projects in south Auckland parks.