Battle with Graffiti in Auckland Continues

Tagging down 22% though


From Auckland Council:

Auckland winning graffiti war

Five years after declaring war on graffiti and nearly three years after introducing a world-leading graffiti reduction plan, Auckland Mayor Len Brown says graffiti vandalism incidents are down 22 percent and more than a thousand Auckland residents have signed up to a free Adopt-a-Spot programme to help control neighbourhood graffiti.

“This is a legacy I’m proud to claim as we mark the start of Keep New Zealand Beautiful’s Graffiti-Free Week,” he says.

Graffiti vandalism (tagging) is a community security and amenity issue that can lower property values and encourage more vandalism and other types of crime.

“Graffiti vandalism makes communities feel unsafe and damages our city’s reputation. The council’s vision is that Aucklanders and visitors enjoy a city free of graffiti vandalism and we have followed through with a zero tolerance policy for any graffiti placed in public sight without permission.”

Graffiti Vandalism Prevention Manager Rob Shields says the council is achieving its target of 100 percent of reported graffiti being attended to within 24 hours, a testament to both the Adopt-a-Spot programme and a comprehensive service delivery model focused on the three “e”s – eradication, enforcement and education.

“We manage graffiti removal and prevention in partnership with a wide range of government agencies, community groups and volunteers in local areas.”

The Adopt-a-Spot programme enables volunteers to take ownership of an area in their neighbourhood to look after and keep graffiti-free. Auckland Council supplies the paint, brushes and other equipment, which can be used to remove graffiti from private or public property.

“We rely on the public to report graffiti on public property and on residential or small business property where it’s visible from the street,” says Rob.

“Any member of the public can call 09 301 0101 and we’ll have someone there with 24 hours. Rapid removal is internationally recognised as a successful prevention approach, because it deprives vandals of the notoriety they gain from seeing their tags up in public.”

The council also operates a Stop Tags database, collecting evidential photographs of tag names to help with enforcement.

“A tag name is almost like a fingerprint that can be verified by experts; we have successfully prosecuted repeat offenders based on these photographs,” says Rob.

He says education is another key aspect of the council’s successful graffiti prevention programme.

“Many Aucklanders tolerate and even enjoy street art and the core difference between vandalism and street art is permission. We want to galvanise the entire community to not tolerate graffiti vandalism and report it immediately or remove it themselves.”


Graffiti-free week activities being undertaken by the Manukau Beautification Charitable Trust in partnership with Auckland Council: 

Monday 14 March, 11.00am – 2.30pm:  24 students from Papatoetoe Central School painting out graffiti and weeding their neighbouring walkway at 504 Great South Road, Papatoetoe.

Tuesday 15 March, 9.00am – 3.00pm:  ATC TrainMe students from the Ultimate course painting a large commercial wall that has been defaced with graffiti and is visible from East Tamaki Reserve (opposite 25 Springs Rd). The group says it wants to do something to serve the local community, to make a difference.

More information about Auckland Council’s graffiti management plan is available at


Washing off graffiti  Source: Auckland Council
Washing off graffiti
Source: Auckland Council
Painting the mural wall outside the Otahuhu  Transpower switch yard Source: Auckland Council
Painting the mural wall outside the Otahuhu Transpower switch yard
Source: Auckland Council




Great to see.