Poisoning A Beautiful Place

1080 dropped on Makarora

By Carol Sawyer and Clyde Graf


I am still recovering from the sadness I feel about the poisoning of this beautiful place – Makarora has not suffered an aerial 1080 drop before. I spent two days there, photographing the drop and talking to tourists.

Clyde Graf and his brother Steve were there too (makers of the 4 x international award-winning film “Poisoning Paradise”, and many other smaller films ).

They have documented every aspect of this poisoning and a film will be out before long.

Everybody knows? No way!

As most of you will know by now, many tourists were in the vicinity of the drop, and many trampers in the hills drinking from the streams without knowing the poison was in dropped directly into them all. Mind you, if you live adjacent to the drop, you are offered alternative water!

This drop was undertaken to kill a plague of rats, feeding on a “beech-mast” (whatever that is). We spent four days in the bush. Not a single rat was found. A few possums, 5 deer, and one male tomtit.

The deer numbers were extraordinarily low, given it has never been dropped before – but then again – in the south, there are open river flats and open tops so the deer have been hammered by choppers for the last 40 years, right up until the week before the drop.

They may well be completely eradicated from many of the valleys and tops now. We didn’t see, hear or smell a live deer. Normally we would.

Poisoning accessible areas rich in bird life

The drop went right across the open tops, across easy-to-walk, open grass basins.

In summary, the drop was a fraud – the ecosystem was healthy, with a wide range of bird species.

The baits will be sitting for many days to come, in the fine hot weather, exposed to curious birds and wildlife. We find that some of the birds don’t start dying for days after a drop, and as for ruru, it could be weeks. No rain, and plenty of baits, means an extended killing period.

Some of the species of birds present that we saw are … rifleman, tomtit, rock wren, wood pigeon, robin, falcon, warbler, kakariki, kea, fantail, tui. And NO rats, not a single one!

Normally we find rats – if there’s lots, we find lots, if there’s not, we don’t.


I reckon all the poisoners names should go at the end of the DVD on this in red. as those whom caused one of the greatest catastrophies of 2017! These scum of society deserve severe ridicule!

I personally witnessed the 1080 poisoning of Makarora, my first impressions on arrival at Cameron Flat were why are they spreading on the tops well above the bush line.
Myself and several others had positioned ourselves at the Cameron Flat camp ground entrance overlooking the load out zone. Every time a helicopter was loaded and was lifting off the rotor wash would send a huge cloud of green dust into the air which the slight breeze carried straight across the state highway of which a continuous flow of traffic kept coming, including many touring cyclists.
Towards the late afternoon I made my way to Davis flat and walked into the bush for a few km, the first baits in pellet form were within 100 metres of the state highway.
The river bed was strewn with baits on both sides of the waterway, this tributary flows into the Makarora river which flows into lake Wanaka.
It’s anyone’s guess as to how much poison was dropped directly into the water.
Why would DoC want to do this to what is one of the most pristine examples of forest with outstanding examples of birdlife is beyond understanding.

The DoC are completely out of control dumping poison for the sake of it keeping helicopter companies pockets full to overflowing and the Governments SOE returning maximum profits from their poison manufacturing. I