Graffiti at RSA garden displays 'pure disrespect'

July 02, 2019 - 248 views

Those responsible for graffiti spray-painted at Oamaru's World War 2 memorial have ''hurt'' those it is dedicated to, Squadron 26 (Oamaru) Air Training Corps commander Derek Beveridge says.

The yellow graffiti, believed by Oamaru police to have been painted over the weekend, was discovered by Mr Beveridge as he walked through the North Otago Returned and Services Association Garden of Memories on the corner of Severn St and Itchen St yesterday.

It included the term ''305 Otara'', sprayed on the steps leading to the cenotaph, and another phrase next to the cenotaph itself.

A phallic symbol was sprayed on a stone fence nearby.

Mr Beveridge, who has for many years been heavily involved in commemorative services held at the memorial, was angered by the act, which he said was ''pure disrespect''.

''It's a special place for the families of the soldiers ... and the community.

''If one really looks at it, soldiers really fought to give people the freedom to do things, but I'm quite sure they did not think this was going to be part of it. Those that are responsible need to think of the hurt they are causing to the families of the soldiers that have gone before.''

Waitaki District Council recreation manager Erik van der Spek said council contractors were scheduled to remove the graffiti yesterday.

Sergeant Blair Wilkinson, of Oamaru, said graffiti was not a widespread problem in the town.

''Compared to other towns, Oamaru is relatively graffiti-free, which is something not only police, but the wider community, can take pride in.

''For it to happen at the Garden of Memories ... is very concerning.''

He asked anyone with information to visit the Oamaru station, call 105 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


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