Western Leader : November 25th 2010
www.westernleader.co.nz Thursday, November 25, 2010 Saturday is Sisters Day 27 November ~ Come shopping with your Sister this Saturday and receive a Rose ~ Enjoy the 30 covered stalls with their fresh Produce and Gourmet Delights ~ Community Stall ~ Live Music on the lawn ~ Good Coffee and snacks ~ Free Parking in the Vineyard Mayor urges all Aucklanders to help out Operation Heal is a great example of people working together to make a real dif- ference to the lives of New Zealanders. The Mad Butcher and Suburban Newspapers Com- munity Trust launched this project to raise money to buy a vital piece of equipment for the National Burn Centre at Middlemore Hospital. The high-tech microscope will be used for life-changing plastic and reconstructive surgery. It s great to see the West- ern Leader working with its sister publications to get people around the region to pitch in and donate money for this crucial microscope. My dream for Auckland is to see organisations, busi- nesses and communities working together to make this the world s most liveable city. I m happy to support projects like Oper- ation Heal which embody a real community spirit. I encourage people to sup- port this cause. -- Len Brown A firefighter's story P3 See Len Brown at www.western leader.co.nz. 'Attack an outrage' Desecrated graves: Daniel Sales with vandalised headstones at Waikumete Cemetery. Photo: STEPHEN FORBES By STEPHEN FORBES WAIKUMETE Cemetery has been inundated with phone calls from people concerned about their loved ones graves after vandals smashed 87 headstones on the weekend. Cemetery manager Daniel Sales estimates the offenders did more than $300,000 worth of damage. He says a group of young people smashed, damaged and pushed over headstones in the Anglican A to F section near the Chapel of Faith in the Oaks on Saturday night. Iron railings from old graves were used to smash headstones -- some of which are very intricate and likely to be beyond repair. Mr Sales was contacted by the council on Sunday after a member of the public reported the damage. He was horrified when he saw what the vandals had done. We ve had one or two headstones knocked over before, he says. But nothing like this. We ve had so many calls from upset people who want to find out if it is one of their relatives graves affected. Waikumete is the main cemetery for Auckland and the largest in New Zealand. Auckland mayor Len Brown says it could be one of the worst acts of vandalism in the history of the cemetery. This attack is an outrage and I appeal to the com- munity to work with the police to bring those respon- sible to justice and to ensure this does not occur again, he says. Mr Sales wants to help repair the graves. We re going to try and work through that with a number of community groups to find the best way forward. He says signs and plaques have also been damaged and will add considerably to the clean-up costs. Auckland Council staff are working with police to track down the offenders and look at how they can prevent further incidents. Waitakere police commander Gary Davey says officers are work- ing to find the culprits. It s being treated seriously and a team of investigators has been assigned to a num- ber of lines of inquiry. In August a vehicle got stuck in the mud in the cem- etery after driving over some old graves and a tow truck had to drag it out. No human remains were disturbed but Mr Sales was upset at the offender s disre- gard for the families affected. He said he was keen to stop such vandalism but he couldn t close the cemetery to the public.
November 23rd 2010