Graffiti Vandalism and Tagging

This page provides information about graffiti and tagging and what you can do to prevent it to keep the streets of Porirua City beautiful.

Graffiti and tagging is vandalism

"Graffiti vandalism" or "tagging" is the unauthorised marking of property by drawing, painting or etching.  "Tagging" usually depicts the stylised signature, initials or nickname of the graffitist. Graffiti often extends beyond simple "tagging" to more complex artistic works.

It is a criminal offence under Section 33, Summary of Offences Act 1981 to write, paint, spray on, etch on or otherwise mark any structure.

In addition to the legal responsibly of the person or persons causing the damage, graffiti or tag creates considerable cost to the community by:

  • Degrading the city image, appearance, amenities and environment.
  • Impacting on both the city residents' and visitors' sense of safety, peace of mind and enjoyment of public amenities.
  • Incurring needless remedial costs for Council and property owners.

In recent years, graffiti vandalism has cost Porirua City Council over $300,000 per year to manage.

Community action

We are committed to a comprehensive and integrated approach that will bring benefits to the community.  These benefits will be threefold: safer, more attractive places to live; cost savings; and redirecting graffitists away from anti-social activity towards positive activities.

We worked in partnership with the community to develop a Porirua Graffiti Management Strategy to manage graffiti vandalism.  The strategy provides a strategic framework to guide the activities of council, community and other stakeholders engaged in preventing and reducing vandalism in Porirua City.  The strategy aims to create a tag free city that contributes to an attractive, safe and proud community. 

Strategies have been devised to achieve 3 broad objectives:

  • Prevention of graffiti vandalism
  • Paint out graffiti vandalism rapidly, and
  • Encouraging pride in our community to own and manage the issue.  

Council and the Police cannot counter graffiti by themselves.  Graffiti is a community problem that requires active community commitment and involvement to overcome.

How to help with removal and prevention of graffiti vandalism

Report graffiti vandalism whenever you find it whether it is on private or public property to us  on phone (04) 237 5089; or email to (graffiti in subject line).  Please provide the nearest address and description of the graffiti.

Where the graffiti is on our property, we are committed to removing it in 48 hrs.  Where graffiti is on private property, a graffiti team member can visit and help provide answers to cleaning the graffiti and reducing the chances of it happening again.

You can volunteer yourself, your business or community group to assist with graffiti initiatives. Contact our Graffiti Management Coordinator on telephone (04) 237 5089.

Graffiti Guardians - Adopt a Spot Programme

Graffiti Guardians – Adopt a Spot Project is a chance to do something practical in your area which makes a positive difference to the city and your neighbourhood.  Adopt a Spot can be where you live or pass each day on your way to work, taking the kids to school, or walking the dog etc.  You can also enlist the help of your neighbours by getting them on board as well. 

To become a graffiti guardian:

  • First decide which street/s, park, walkway or shops you want to adopt then:
  • Phone us on (04) 237 5089 and ask to be put you in touch with the Graffiti Management Coordinator.

Reporting graffiti offenders to the Police

To report a graffiti offender in action where the offender is either still at work or near by, notify the Police immediately on "111".

In non-urgent situations, where you have details of the offender or offenders who have left the scene, notify the Police on their Customer Services telephone (04) 238 1400.

To assist the Police investigation, if practical note down as much detail as possible including:

  • The time, date and place (the street address, building name, public structure etc) of the incident.
  • What occurred?  What each person did and how many there were.
  • Description of the offenders (age, race, height and build) as well as what they were wearing (e.g.. blue jeans, red cap, black shoes).  Include their name/s or nickname/s if known to you.
  • What equipment did they use to make their graffiti i.e. spray can, brush etc and what they did with it afterwards?
  • What is their mode of travel and direction of travel away from the scene?
  • Motor vehicle description and registration number – if applicable.
  • Note the above details down while it is still fresh in your memory.

In cases where the offender is unknown and left the scene, photograph or make drawings of the graffiti before erasing it. This will help Police to identify the offender.

Prevent graffiti on your property

Graffitists view blank walls, fences and other structures as ideal for their work.

Careful property design can prevent it from becoming a graffiti target.

You can take action as a property owner to prevent graffiti on your property. This includes:

  • Planting trees and shrubs to shield possible target areas from public view.
  • Providing security lighting in possible target areas.
  • Have textured rather than smooth surfaces on walls or fences etc.
  • Use special anti-graffiti  coatings in high-risk areas.
  • Use dark rather than light colours.
  • Use gravel, shells or pebbles where people walk.
  • Prevent access to property by security fencing and gates that cannot be used for graffiti.
  • Promptly remove graffiti when it appears.  This helps deter further graffiti.

Links to more graffiti or tagging information


Porirua City Council links: