Taggers Hit New Cabinets


Auckland transport and RWC 2011 authorities recognise that the Auckland rail corridor is a sea of ugly tags -and will not be a pretty sight on the Western Line for those going by train to Eden Park,  if they can see out of the crowded carriage windows.
While half a dozen regular taggers have reportedly been caught over the last six months, every nook and cranny on the network continues to get hit on a regular basis but KiwiRail considers it’s starting to get on top of it.

The view out of the Auckland train window is not always a tourist postcard.

The authorities talk of joint co-operation to tackle the issue but it was mentioned at last week’s Auckland Transport meeting that for the Western Line to be cleaned up, this won’t fully happen until just before the RWC 2011 as any extensive efforts now are considered a waste of time as taggers would come back and attack it.

But even if not all of it is cleared until then, work is being taken along the line by KiwiRail working in partnership with Auckland Council and also using naughty guys doing corrections work.

They are claiming success already saying a considerable amount of graffiti has vanished including along the Western Line.

People I come across whose garages are hit with tagging have found that if you wipe it off quickly and keep doing it, after the third go they give up because they know the tags won’t last.

It seems rail taggers are getting the message. That seems to fit with the KiwiRail team’s experience.

They say the current anti-graffiti work shows that between Ellerslie and Greenlane, they’ve reduced graffiti by 95%. When they first started there they had to clear up to 2000 sqm a month now only 10–30 sqm of graffiti is painted out in the same time.

That’s encouraging.

Removing graffiti and train art from the rail network

They also have in the planning stages improved fencing to reduce trespass and vegetation clearance and will trial specially designed fencing to prevent access to the spans on four road bridges - including two that adjoin the southern motorway.

What is needed as well are clear warning signs to taggers that they are being watched on CCTV (as a deterrent even if that’s not completely true) and warning they wil be prosecuted.

Despite the presence of CCTV cameras at many stations now, it’s appalling to see tagged so many of the new cabinets installed recently as part of the pre-electriification and signalling work programme.


This is disheartening to see once again new improvements are defaced within hours - as used to happen on a nightly basis when stations like Grafton were being built.
Those tags remain for weeks or months, like this awful row of cabinets around the Quay Park area on the waterfront.

How many months does it take to find someone with a cleaning rag?

And also worth noting is the damage done to the wonderful Ant Sang bro’town images on the platform floor at Morningside installed in September 2009. Morningside is one of the key p[erating “game day” stations for the RWC 2011.

A few days later after AKT reported the murals being placed there, Sam F in the comments remarked:

“The Bro’Town murals are OK. I wonder how long the vinyl will last – took a photo myself yesterday and immediately two bored schoolboys came along and started scuffing shoe rubber all over it…”

Sadly, his prediction has come true.

Finally, let’s hope these most-welcome strenuous tidy up efforts continue as well after the tourists have gone home from the RWC 2011!




  1. DanC says:

    The authorities need to get tough on them. Catch them,. maybe have volunteers with camera to catch them at it? Then make them clean it up and do planting, maybe just maybe they would be proud of there work and not return and re tag?

  2. Andrew Taylor says:

    Please can we not call people who deface other people’s property as “taggers”. They are criminals or vandals.

  3. matthew says:

    literally the only people in the world that would be offended by graffiti on a train line are the kind of idiots that would travel the entire way across the world to watch rugby.
    and how are you gonna get mad/confused about quick tags when you’re destroying all the ones that people actually put effort into? obviously people just aren’t gonna take the time they previously would’ve, but they’re still gonna write.
    those bro town murals are disgusting and i’m glad they got destroyed.

  4. richard says:

    I have removed tags and bombing from two blocks of shops I have lived next to and the only way to get rid of it is to persevere.

    In both the shops near me it took removal within 24hrs, and that is important, and repeatedly over a period up to six months then they go away.

    On the north Shore there are three crews which call very quickly if you phone the “Actionline” and they do a great job.

    Removing tags should be like mowing the grass berm outside your house, the owner should remove it as a matter of course. Always photograph the tags and drop the photos into the Police or they can tell you who in your area keeps a file of tags.

    Proper fresco artwork should not be removed or damaged……this actually discourages the amateur stuff. !

  5. urban local says:

    I agree mathew that some great graffitti has been destroyed. I was sadded when the great works next to Mt Eden train station were painted over.

    Rail corridors the world over are tagged, better there than on a private front yard fence.

    “Paint the wall grey and the mind will follow”

  6. signalhead says:

    Aww, come on.
    That tagging at Quay park on the old boiler and new location boxes was taken care of over three weeks ago and hasn’t been re tagged since.
    The location boxes on Parnell hill were taken care of two days ago.
    Over the next months and years many of these high risk location boxes will be fenced.
    The fixes won’t happen overnight but it will happen, except for the tagging that is.

  7. Luke says:

    how are the Newmarket murals going? With big blank grey spaces its not suprising they are tagged. not saying its OK at all. But having allowing talented artists to paint more of those grey walls would look much better and would be less likely to be tagged,

  8. George D says:

    I’ve spoken to a few writers in my time. The same ones who do the large pieces are the ones doing the tiny tags. I explain that the smaller ones are more offensive to most, but they don’t care.

    The people whose heads I really want in stocks are those who scratch windows. I’d throw the book at them.

  9. urban local says:

    Funny enough after writing my comment yesterday I caught a tagger scrawling the back of a seat of the train with a vivid pen.

    Unsuprisingly he got agressive when I confronted him so hailed the train manager and a PO from the other carriage.

    They came and spoke to the group of three but what can you expect to happen? Nothing. They got off at the next stop which the group volunteered to do.

  10. Bob Crumb says:

    I often wonder if it was popular public opinion or the closed mindedness of a certain few that ruined the free art along the side of the rail corridor.

    On my time spent on the trains in Auckland I saw people from all walks of life enjoying the graffiti art out the window of the train.

    I think its a real tragedy to see the art gone from the rail corridor.

  11. Owen Thompson says:

    It is not art, but rather mindless destruction of some-one else’s property by vandals.

  12. Luke says:

    graffiti on grey fences that back onto the rail corridor is hardly destruction of property, it is a victimless crime.

    If you clamp down on this type of graffiti as much as you do where houses and shops are victims then this will increase negative effects caused by tagging, as offenders will see no difference between the two.

  13. Owen Thompson says:

    If it was my back fence, it would not be victimless. Ironically, I can’t see the difference between the two types already, so I am obviously ahead of vandals.

  14. tu says:

    Make the walls grey and the minds will follow

  15. anthony says:

    ^^ oh look! vandal! ^^