This site is an archived version of Indymedia prior to 5th November 2012. The current site is at

150 march on New Plymouth District Council over sewage


150 people marched to the New Plymouth District Council in protest over the sewage situation in Waitara on 14th December 2010. Most people on the hikoi were Waitara residents.

Community group 'Friends of the Waitara River - Ko Waitara Te Awa' organised the hikoi to show their anger over the on-going issues around the Waitara sewage system.

Waitara residents say the recent discovery of human norovirus in shellfish taken from local reefs was further evidence the town's sewage was polluting their environment. Waitara Community Board member Joe Rauner said the Waitara community was united in its goal of having its sewage system connected to the New Plymouth plant urgently.

The protesters were met by the Mayor Harry Duynhoven and several councillors. Duynhoven addressed the crowd and said that this was a high-priority issue for the council but it still had to go through a consultation process with the wider community. He was heckled by people who think there has been enough talk, and it is time for action instead.

Four members of the community addressed the council meeting. In her submission to the council, Waitara resident Fiona Clark pointed out that there was no need for further consultation because that work had been going on for 34 years! Joe Rauner said there will be further protest action at the opening of WOMAD and during the Rugby World Cup in September next year. New Plymouth is hosting three games, perfect time for raising this issue. Rauner then tabled a motion giving the Council 18 months to complete the project.

"We proved today that the New Plymouth District Council can not underestimate the power of the people, especially the Waitara people" said Otaraua hapu member Donna Eriwata. "Even though we got a lot of the same old excuses from the NPDC and Mayor Duynhoven, we showed them we aren't going away."

Waitara is a predominantly Maori community, around 15 km northeast of New Plymouth with a population just over 6000. It is the poorest town in the New Plymouth district. It is here that the war between Maori and colonial troops started on 17th March 1860.


Tena Koutou Tena Koutou

Tena Koutou Tena Koutou katoa.

I pay tribute to those past and present in this issue of seeking a clean and healthy environment for all to live in.

Some have said this issue is historical. There is a call for consultation on the issue and it being put back to a 3 year timeframe.

These are the 2 issues I wish to address to you today.

I will give you an overview and the issue is still alive and well since 1977 – having been part of this discussion since that time.

There has been many thousands of $$ and time spent, from 1979 many sumptuous seafood and river dinners with the joint Waitara Borough council, Taranaki County Council and the NPDC at Owae Marae on the topic of the coastal pollution. There has been financial hardships undertaken and efforts made to address this issue for over 30 years.

My own background is that from returning after graduating from Auckland Univ Elam Art School – I lived at Tikorangi and biked weekly to Waitara for shopping. As part of that road trip, Tertius and I would have chips at the river mouth with homemade Plum sauce. In 1977 we were made aware of the very gross pollution of the Waitara River and foreshore. We somehow found ourselves at a meeting to discuss the pollution. I boldly offered my services a as photographer and recent Art School graduate. Aila Taylor – said in his invincible way – “Is that right!” – The very broad ranging community Taranaki Clean sea action group was formed. The Toroa /Albatross was the symbol for the TCSA group – the wearing here in Taranaki of the white feathers of Toroa being the sign of peace and passive resistance – originating as we know at Parihaka. The T C Sea Action group took up my offer – my images and the story unfolded. I am the author of the images we now know about this issue since 1977. The 2 calendars I published in1982 and 1983 were used to raise the funds to employ the lawyers for the legal representation needed during the many Court sittings and Tribunal hearings. I proudly wear the T shirt today. The Kaupapa/ topic and the symbol of the albatross from those early meetings and actions are still appropriate today.

On the 26 April 1980 a meeting called at the NP Raceway to discus the Joint proposal for the disposal of the waste from the Waitara Borough, the Taranaki County and the New Plymouth City. Attending were, Dick Wilson – WBC Mayor, Ross Allen TCC Chair, and Denny Sutherland NPDC Mayor. Also attending were Taranaki Catchments Commission Dougal Douglas and Dr. Cowan for the Dept of Health. My images verify and the press clippings are clear and succinct.

The mandate given then was to build a Joint Facility – then came the discussions to build the Carousel Land based Treatment facilitly.

During that time – 17 October 1980 a tented occupation and open information day of the Waiwakaiho Rewarewa reserve happened – the site that the Taranaki clean sea action group, Tawhirikura hapu with the support of Puketapu and Ngati Te Whiti hapu proposed the Land based treatment plant for that site.

It was late 1981and David Lean was elected the city's new mayor. People who attended the meeting that afternoon will remember his magnificent speech.

David held up a packet of cigarettes and said: "This is what it will cost per ratepayer, per week, to get a land-based sewage scheme for New Plymouth.". I would suggest here that a similar cost today would be the same for the pipeline from Waitara to Waiwakaiho. At the same time other candidates stood for election – openly supporting a land based treatment system for the Northern Taranaki coastline – backed by the T Clean sea action group.

Len Hannan, Muriel Livingston, Ted Collins and Eileen Gunderson were amongst those elected to NPDC. Aila Taylor and Ted Maha were elected to the Waitara Borough Council. Ted Tamati to the Taranaki County Council.

The NPDC voted for a land based treatment plant and it was Roy Burkitt whose casting vote won the day. The mandate was given to Clean up our coastline and provides the most update system with the room for expansion and more “carousels” as needed. Ken Holyoake – a local engineer did the research and planning work

The Carousel land based Treatment Plant opened in 1984. The party was good.

Representation was made in 1983 to The National Maori Women’s Welfare league conference in Tamaki Makaurau /Auckland who then passed a motion of support to clean up the Northern Taranaki coastal waters. The NZ Maori Council also showed its support with a similar statement.

Also during that time the issue of the pollution of the Waitara River mouth and bay area and coast and pending THINK big projects was a major concern.

The Wai 6, as now know it - the Motunui–Waitara claim, was brought by Aila Taylor on behalf of the Te Atiawa iwi on 2 June 1981 and concerned the control of discharge of sewage and industrial waste into the sea between New Plymouth and Waitara.

The Tribunal constituted to hear the claim comprised Chief Judge Eddie Durie (presiding), Sir Graham Latimer, and Judge Walter Willis. 3 Hearings were held - Hearings were held in July, October, and November of 1982, and the Tribunal presented its report to the Minister of Maori Affairs and to Te Atiawa on 17 March 1983. Note here that the 17th March historically is a significant date for Waitara.

The Tribunal found that the Crown had failed to recognize Maori interests guaranteed by the Treaty and that Maori interests should have been taken into account in the management of New Zealand's natural resources. It recommended that the proposal for an ocean outfall at Motunui be discontinued and that the Crown seek

An interim arrangement with the Waitara Borough Council for the discharge of the synthetic fuels plant's effluent through the council's outfall. The Tribunal also recommended that both a regional task force and an interdepartmental committee be established; the former to plan for development in the region in the medium term and the latter to promote legislation for the reservation and control of significant Maori fishing grounds.

That (2) any new outfall for Waitara must eventually be supplemented by a land based secondary or tertiary treatment plant.

The idea of Building a stand alone Carousel Treatment Plant for only New Plymouth was never considered – Waitara people joined forces with NP to build the facility for all on the northern Taranaki coast. The early meetings with WBC, TCC and NPDC were clear in their intention - I would never have supported the idea of a stand alone treatment plant – if I had known those 30 years on I would have to re - justify that the carrousel plant was a Joint Proposal from 1980. Aila’s Claim to the Tribunal was general – it was not for Te Atiawa alone. I would suggest that many others would have not put effort, resources and time into just a treatment plant for NP. We never imagined we would wait 26 years for our pipeline to take the Waitara waste to Waiwakaiho. We would have lobbied for it to be at Waitara. The Treaty of Waitangi Tribunal claim was for the coast from NP to Waitara. The report from 1983 states that it is the Waitara reefs and river that was the most affected and even suggested a treatment facility at Waitara. On reflection - Our generosity was misguided.

Back to Wai 6 - The Waitangi Tribunal Claim Wai6 – bestowed Mana on Te Atiawa. Let me refer to that Mana and to the honoring of that Mana. That Mana still has to be honored. Here is another mandate that was given to do just that. That mana needs to be restored and honored. This Council through its elected Councillors has the power to honour that mana and restore it. It has the power to Fast track the progress the building of the pipeline to Waiwakaiho. You do not need to consult again, again and again. And who do you think needs to be consulted again. How much money will be spent re writing the reports and seeking views that have already been spoken and written?

When Chief Judge Jury was at Owae last year to hear Foreshore and Seabed submissions – he recalled those 1982 - 1983 hearings and paid tribute to those involved and the effort made by Te Atiawa. He laminated the fact that he seemed to be hearing the same issues being addressed again. He clearly felt he had been part of a mandate that was given in 1983 to clean up the coastline and to use the facilities that were put in place at Waiwakaiho in 1984.

I go back to the photographs I have taken over the last 33 years.

These Photos are held in Govett-Brewster Art Gallery collection – purchased by the NPDC with text and references. There are of cultural acceptance. In Pukearaiki these images and works from that time have been shown publically – yet to disregard the story /kaupapa of these images. Scholars wrote of this issue – so why are we at the same point we were at in 1977. Many of the women and men from that time were the cultural educators that many of us in this room learnt from – we are all quick to credit them with being prime cultural movers. So where is the respect and honour we bestowed on them during their lifetime – and the values they left us with? We belittle them – we belittle ourselves and our community.

I believe you have a clear mandate and there is no need to consult anymore with a community that since 1977 has been clear in its requests – A new mayor was voted in 1981 with a mandate to build a land based treatment plant and this was ticked of and achieved – Other forums as the Courts, Waitangi Tribunal and National bodies have given you clear mandate to act. Even under the Local Govt Act 2002 your powers are wide -



Gianni Milo1, Carolyn Fowler2 and Chris Hunt2

1Audit New Zealand, Wellington and 2School of Accounting and Commercial Law, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

The contents of this paper and related

Comments made by Gianni should not be treated as reflecting the views of Audit New Zealand or the Auditor General.-

In terms of the performance measures required under the LGA 2002, there is little formal prescription about what local authorities should be measuring and reporting.

Local authorities are generally given the freedom to decide what they measure and report on to central government and their communities so long as it meets the legislative requirements.”

As to the legislative requirements - I understand all the easements and permissions have been granted to build the pipeline from Waitara to Waiwakaiho.

You said you will met us and nothing will change – “your minds are made up “-

Why have you taken stance? And who made up your minds? - This was the same stance in 1979.

I request you exercise your mandated powers and vote to move this issue forward ASAP and restore the mana that was given to the community.

Fiona Clark

14 12 2010.

Hikoi raises the pressure

Hikoi raises the pressure (Taranaki Daily News -

and then later on in the same

and then later on in the same meeting, the council introduced a liquor ban for Waitara, even though the Waitara Community Board is opposed to that! Waitara Community Board member Joe Rauner who stormed out of the council meeting when the ban got the nod.

He said the community board had recommended against the idea because they did not see any need for it and the council's approval of it made a mockery of the board's existence.

Compost the council

He mihi nui ki te whaanau o Waitara. Definitely support your long struggle to stop the pollution of your awa and moana. I wonder if massive land-based sewage systems are really long-term sustainable though?

The author of 'Humanure' Joe Jenkins points out that the pollution really begins when faeces is mixed with water to create sewage. Sewage must make its way through an extensive network of pipes to get to the treatment plant, with the potential for leaks, and breakages as the pipes wear out, and the land around them shifts. It is an energy-intensive infrastructure to maintain. As we continue into 'energy descent' following the peak of fossil fuel supply, we will need to consider low-energy ways to deal with our own shit on site. Composting toilets, or methane bio-digesters.

As for 'liquor bans', does everyone realise these are being driven by the cops, as it gives them the power to search anyone in the ban area, without a warrant? We are losing our basic freedoms by a thousand cuts. What will we do to defend them?

    What will we do to defend



What will we do to defend our rights?we'll fight by any means possible.