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Sign in park tells parents to cage small children

It began with an email from Andrew Clerk to our ONE News inbox.

The caged off area in Auckland's Waiataura Reserve Source: 1 NEWS

"I was bemused", he told us.

We couldn't quite believe it either. A caged off area in Auckland's Waiataura Reserve with a peculiar sign.

The sign read "Parents: Put your small children in here - and enjoy a walk around the park in peace".

It then went on to specify a maximum 30 minute time limit, as if the idea of leaving your child locked in a cage while you roamed a park was only negligent if you were gone for any longer than half an hour.

Andrew Clerk, who's a parent of two children, says the concept was "bizarre and outrageous".

"It would be absolutely stupid to leave your kids in the cage" he says.

The sign specified the enclosure had been erected by Auckland City Council's Parks department.

So armed with Andrew's photo, ONE News went digging.

Locals in Remuera, home of the Waiataura Reserve, were just as outraged, but some suggested there might be more to the story.

So, we contacted the Auckland City Council for clarification. Initially, it was unclear whether the sign was genuine, or in fact whether the council had even erected the enclosure in the first place.

But this afternoon, a breakthrough.

Jane Aickin, the council's Local and Sports Parks manager, said the fenced-off area has been built to house a rainfall monitoring station.

"Rainfall data is used both by Auckland Council and external organisations for a wide range of purposes", she explains.

The sign, however, has not come from the council, and has now been removed by the council's parks department.

And since our phone call, the council is "now in the process of having a sign made to explain the rainfall monitoring station to interested park users".

A relief to the originally bemused Andrew Clerk.

"I think someone out there has a bizarre sense of humour and has gone to a lot of effort to print off this realistic sign and time spent tying it to the fence".

When asked if he thought anyone actually would have left their children in the cage, Andrew mused that most sensible parents wouldn't, but that you "can't protect against stupidity".

The sign on a caged off area in Auckland's Waiataura Reserve Source: 1 NEWS


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