Be vigilant, locals urged

Doc Ranger Jim Croawell carries out maintenance work on a historic Macetown building. Photo from Department of Conservation.

People wandering around the Wakatipu this holiday period need to be historical custodians, the Department of Conservation says.

Ranger Jim Croawell, who leads Doc projects on historic buildings, is asking locals to keep an eye out when tramping after damage was done in Macetown.

”We are lucky enough to have several historic gems in the Wakatipu district, from the Schoolhouse and Homestead in Skippers, through to the restored cottages in Macetown or the Arrowtown Chinese Settlement. These sites have incredible stories, and hidden features which may seem insignificant without a second look.”

He is asking those who visit the areas to act as guardians to help protect them.

Macetown and Skippers are particularly vulnerable this time of year.

”We face high people numbers and visitors who are less familiar with how to behave around our historic heritage. Sadly, damage has occurred in a few locations over the years. Vandals filled Needhams Cottage in Macetown with firewood and smashed a window this year. The fire they lit damaged the cottage badly and blew the plaster off the chimney.”

Over the holiday period Doc also notices an increase in motorists ignoring warning signs or driving where they should not.

Queenstown operations manager Geoff Owen said historic sites needed to be protected for future generations to enjoy. He said Doc would like locals to act as ”eyes and ears” over the Christmas-New Year break.

”I encourage everyone to enjoy all the special places we are so privileged to have in the district and only ask in return that you please pack out what you pack in, take only photographs and leave only footprints.”

If anyone does observe damage they can contact the Doc Visitor Centre, or call the Doc hotline on 0800 362 468.

Otago Daily Times