A 43-year-old man has been arrested following vandalism to the Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service building.
Bay of Plenty lifeguards were left picking up the pieces and sweeping up broken glass earlier this week after a random act of vandalism.
Police were called in the early hours of Monday morning after a man went to the deck of the Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service building and began smashing the windows with a rock.
The damage left the club with an excess $2,500 insurance bill and shuttered windows after the man committed what operations manager Ali Wieringa called a “senseless act”.
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CCTV footage was handed over to police, who arrested a 43-year-old man in connection with the vandalism.
“They climbed onto the deck of the building carrying a boulder and smashed it against two of our large glass windows,” Wieringa said. “They threw him through a large window, which sprayed glass all over our reception hall.
“They then turned around and left. They weren’t trying to break in or take anything – it was basically reckless vandalism.
“It was a foolish act – we don’t know what’s going on in that person’s life, but picking up a stone, getting on the bridge and starting to break windows is very random.”
Wieringa said the club were “frustrated and disappointed” after the attack. “That’s not really where our funds should go,” she said.
“We were left to clean up the mess, pay the excess to repair the damage and rearrange the functions until we could get it fixed.”
The club building is located at the foot of the iconic Mauao landmark and has hosted many corporate functions and events such as weddings since its reconstruction and reopening in 2019.
The attack follows the defacing of Maori language signs that were put up on and around neighboring Mauao earlier this year.
The wayfinding signs, put up by Tauranga City Council, contain information in English and Maori, but Maori place names te reo have been singled out by vandals.
“It puts the safety of the building at risk,” Wieringa said. “We really hope it was just once and we are not about to see the same kind of raids and vandalism as other parts of the country. It’s so destructive.
“Our lifeguards train every day in preparation for their patrols, and the last thing we need is any type of damage that interferes with our ability to patrol beaches and take care of our community.
“We are not just a building under Mauao – we are a lifeguard service, and that is who we are as a club providing the services we offer both on the beach and on the water. It would be nice not to have to deal with that stuff so we could keep doing what we’re doing.
A police spokesperson confirmed that a 43-year-old man had been arrested.
“At approximately 4am on Monday November 21, police received a report of damage to Mount Manganui Surf Club overnight,” they said.
The man appeared in Tauranga District Court the next day charged with willful damage, burglary, possession of methamphetamine utensils and failure to show identification to police.
He was placed on provisional release to reappear on December 15.
The club have had a difficult start to the 2022/23 season after Tauranga man Reon Wikeepa drowned near Mount Maunganui main beach earlier this month.
Things includes Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service have received two generous donations to help defray the cost of repairs following Monday’s vandalism.