Thieves appear to be targeting kayaks on Waiheke during an Auckland Council programme to stop people leaving the craft cluttering up public beaches.
After a deadline for owners to remove their kayaks has been publicised, council staff visit the targeted beach and put 14-day warning stickers on any they see. When the deadline comes, the council collects and takes away any kayaks still left on the beach. However, several owners have found their kayaks had disappeared when they went to retrieve them well before the deadline. They include Alex Blee, who noticed his kayak had gone over a week ago, and approached Gulf News after the council couldn’t tell him what had happened to it.
Alex says he hadn’t seen a warning sticker on his kayak before it went missing, but the council had given notice it would soon remove any kayaks left on the beach and he figured the council took it. But when he asked council staff, they said they had not taken any kayaks from Onetangi yet. So he reported the apparent theft to the police.
Michael Somerville also had his kayak stolen from Onetangi. He found it was missing on 28 January when he went to remove it two days after hearing about the council collection. He says he’s kept and regularly used kayaks at Onetangi for nearly a decade and hasn’t had a problem or even heard of that many kayak thefts until the recent spree.