Department of Conservation historic specialist Stew Hardie
assesses the vandalism done to historic Macetown buildings.
Photo by Dave Murfin.
Vandals smashed windows, ripped a protective lead cap off
a chimney and attempted to light a camp fire inside a pair of
130-year-old restored buildings in Macetown.
Former Department of Conservation (Doc) restoration
contractor Barry Huddhart reported the damage done to the
remote historic Needhams Cottage and Smiths Bakehouse to the
Doc Wakatipu Area Office earlier this month.
Department historic specialists Stew Hardie and Dave Murfin
were able to fully assess then repair the damage yesterday.
It was thought someone had backed up a vehicle to climb on to
the roof of the cottage and bent back the lead cap, then
tried to start a campfire inside the dwelling.
There was evidence of other fires being lit outside, which
posed a further risk.
Up to four window panes in the bakery were broken by thrown
The spate of vandalism cost $500 to repair.
Mr Hardie worked with Mr Huddhart on the Macetown restoration
and the completion of the project was marked by the unveiling
of a plaque by then Prime Minister Helen Clarke last March.
"It's not so much the cost of the broken windows but had the
cottage gone up in flames you'd never be able to replace it -
it's priceless," Mr Hardie said.
Mr Hardie said the windows had been broken twice before
within the last 12 months.
There were no clues identifying the culprits and the police
would not be involved, he said.
Macetown is one of the most intact and accessible historic
goldfield towns managed by the department in Otago and is
located about 16km up the Arrow River from Arrowtown.
Macetown attracts more than 7500 visitors every year, either
independently on foot, mountain bike or 4WD, or with one of
several guided tour operations that visit the reserve.