Pothole penis painter returns with rubber duck stunt as roadwork vigilante scene gains traction

Geoff Upson made a video with one of the many penises he has drawn on Old North Rd in the past three years. Video / Geoff Upson

A road safety vigilante who attracted national attention for spray-painting green penises over potholes has now resorted to rubber duck stunts on social media, after threats of police charges.

Geoff Upson says he is continuing his campaign to draw attention to the terrible state of many stretches of New Zealand highways, after it emerged this week residents in Auckland’s Rodney District decided to fix local potholes themselves.

The Rodney residents sent a bill to Auckland Transport for the DIY sealing up of 20 potholes on a local road and posted about their efforts on a local Facebook page.

Auckland Transport has said they will not be paying the local residents’ maintenance bill.

Fellow roadwork vigilante Upson lives in Kaukapakapa – fairly close to the Rodney District in the north of the Auckland region – and says the road quality is terrible there.

Some of Upson's handiwork. Photo / Supplied
Some of Upson’s handiwork. Photo / Supplied

“A lot of gravel roads [around here] look like that. If I wanted to take a photo of a pothole I’ve only got to drive a few minutes to the nearest gravel road,” he said.

“But the same on the sealed roads. I drive Old North Rd or Kahikatea Flat Road most days and they’ve both got potholes and they’ve been there for a long time. They’re not new potholes. They haven’t just formed this winter, they were there last winter and they’ve just opened back up again.”

The 31-year-old Aucklander has been continuing to draw attention to massive potholes on Auckland roads this year on his Facebook page “Geoff Upson Road Safety Campaigner” after he was stopped by police in mid-2021 from spray-painting green penises around them.

A letter from Helensville Police on August 27, 2021, issued Upson with a formal warning for the willful damage of property charge that is punishable with three months in prison and a fine of $2000.

“I think the reality is police attend crashes due to the unsafe road surface and the police can appreciate that myself and other locals in the area are very angry that the roads are not being maintained to a sufficient safe level,” Upson said.

“You know behind the uniform they are real people and they get it. They have to deal with the aftermath of people crashing on unsafe roads.”

Upson now films himself throwing yellow rubber ducks into dangerously large potholes full of water after it has rained.

He says his new, less provocative pothole stunt came about after Auckland Transport contacted him saying they were going to charge him thousands of dollars to waterblast the green penises off the road.

“Obviously we all know I’ve drawn the giant green penises on the road,” Upson said.

“My drawings were always 100 per cent within the damaged area of road surface. So every bit of my drawing, every bit of my paint has now been removed as part of that repair process, so had they just done the repair like that’s their job then the spray paint would have been removed and in fact it has been because I haven’t drawn anything recently.

“And all the areas I have drawn on have been completely dug out and repaired. But they thought that it was appropriate to leave these big potholes and bumps and jumps and undulations but water blast off my spray paint.”

Geoff Upson in his penis painting days. Photo / Supplied
Geoff Upson in his penis painting days. Photo / Supplied

Geoff Upson with his rubber ducks in potholes. Photo / Supplied
Geoff Upson with his rubber ducks in potholes. Photo / Supplied

But Upson says he has not actually had to pay the Auckland Transport maintenance bill.

The road safety campaigner says his new rubber duck initiative is having great results both on the roads and with the morale of Kiwi motorists.

“The idea there is something that’s not actually marking the road and it’s actually gone down really well with the kids as well. I know last time with the penises, I mean 99 per cent of people absolutely loved it and thought it was funny but there was 1 per cent of the people who were offended. At least this way nobody is offended. The kids love it, they’re talking about it with their parents ‘hey that’s the rubber ducky guy’.”

One of Upson’s rubber duck videos has garnered over 100,000 views on Facebook and another video he posted recently led to the swift repair of a bad pothole near his home, he said.

“How cool is this. I was sitting in the line for KFC drive through a couple of nights ago, and I’d done a long day at work. I think it was 7 or 8 at night and I heard this yelling. I turned down my radio and turned around and there’s this guy sitting in his car on the other side of the car park yelling ‘rubber ducks, rubber ducks, you’re the rubber ducks guy. And I thought how cool is that, somebody I’ve never met has recognised me from my Facebook video. So I gave him a rubber duck and I think he gave it to his kids.”

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