Aucklander fined for defying kauri dieback rāhui

An Auckland man has been fined $4500 for repeatedly defying Auckland kauri dieback bylaws, designed to help prevent the spread of the disease. 

A sign restricting access to an area aimed at preventing the further spread of kauri dieback disease. Source: Auckland Council

Damon Gojack pleaded guilty to two charges relating to breaching Auckland Council’s Public Safety and Nuisance Bylaw. He was convicted yesterday in the Waitākere District Court.

Gojack entered closed areas of the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park and was issued with a Trespass Notice in September 2019 then again in March and July last year.

CCTV then showed him re-offending in April and June last year as he walked on the Karamatura Valley Track in breach of his Trespass Notice.

Judge Lisa Tremewan said Auckland Council had made an “effort” to work with Gojack to make sure he understood what the Trespass Notice meant. 

The defendant, who represented himself, asked the court to consider a sentence of voluntary work instead of a fine because of his financial circumstances. However, the offence is only able to be met with a fine. 

Mayor Phil Goff said the prosecution and fine were appropriate, and hoped it would be a warning to others who repeatedly ignored the rules. 

“The vast majority of Aucklanders understand that staying off closed walking tracks is necessary to keep our kauri trees safe from dieback disease,” he said.

Gojack is the second person to be prosecuted for breaching Auckland’s kauri dieback bylaws. In May, tramper Robert Armitstead was fined $5700 after repeatedly entering prohibited areas of the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park. 

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Rogue tramper who repeatedly defied kauri dieback rāhui ordered to pay $5700

Gojack was also ordered to pay court costs of $130.