Press Release – Office of the Mayor of Auckland
The Mayor has condemned two anti-semitic attacks in Auckland in recent days. In the first, about 20 headstones in the Jewish section of the Symonds St Cemetery were vandalised with swastikas and graffiti spraypainted on headstones. In the second, a Grey Lynn house being renovated was defaced with Nazi emblems.
Police have arrested three men in relation to the cemetery vandalism and are investigating if there are any links between the two attacks.
“The recent acts of racism against our Jewish community are deplorable,” says Len Brown. “Auckland is one of the world’s most diverse cities and we embrace our multi cultural heart. We have zero tolerance for racism, bigotry and ethnic intolerance.”
“Auckland and our nation are founded on principles of religious and cultural freedom and equality. The Jewish community in our city have and continue to contribute outstandingly to the life of our people.”
Work on removing graffiti from four headstones began as soon as the attacks were discovered while a specialist conservator is assessing damage on the other headstones.
At the same time security levels in the cemetery are being increased including council surveillance and monitoring of the site.
Longer term, the Waitemata Local Board has allocated $1.64 million for the restoration of the cemetery.
Over the next three years the focus will be on improving public safety and reducing vandalism while increasing the recreational potential of the area through improving visibility and footpaths, increasing security patrols, repairing and restoring heritage structures, and providing walking routes through the area.