The Mayor of the Thames-Coromandel District says she is "appalled" at racist and Islamophobic graffiti labelled "intimidating and frightening" by the Race Relations Commissioner.
Sandra Goudie told Newshub the derogatory slurs emblazoned on the Kopu Bridge between Thames and Hauraki "brings disrespect to the name graffiti".
Newshub has chosen not to repeat the slurs, which appear to be aimed at the Indian and Islamic communities.
"It's not graffiti - it's not art, it's tagging.
"[The people responsible] are a bunch of toe rags...if they're caught they need to experience the full extent of the law."
Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon told Newshub he is "extremely concerned" about the tagging.
"These images of the graffiti on the Kopu bridge are intimidating and frightening. There is no excuse for such abuse and using symbols of racism towards our ethnic communities."
He says anyone who witnesses racism to step in, saying "bystanders should be upstanders".
"There is no place for racism in Aotearoa."
Goudie says there is no way to identify the culprits - unless they're caught red-handed. And if this is the case, then they should be made to pay the cost of covering it, and prosecuted "to the full extent of the law".
The tagging shows an extreme lack of thought, she says.
"I just want to ask them, where's your brain?"
People on social media called the tags "disgraceful".
"I live here and this shit is not welcome and does not represent the good people here," wrote one person.
"Makes me sick," wrote another.