Taking to the Streets in Taupo

Protesting about poisoning the land

By our Turangi correspondent, Leslie Clague

A week or so ago I participated in a 1080 protest in Taupo. For this old civil rights and women’s lib’ demonstrator of the 1960’s it was fun to get the feel of protesting once more.

Held on 11 September, there were about 20 of us who showed up, representing communities around Lake Taupo (Taupo, Motuoapa, Turangi), complete with signs and determination.

We stood on one of the major intersections in Taupo, near a big fish statue and made sure we were visible to passing motorists as well as chatting with passing tourists and shoppers.

The demonstration was one of several around the country, the largest occurring in Nelson and on the Coromandel Peninsula where major 1080 drops are occurring this month.

Participants from a range of backgrounds

The evidence of indiscriminate killing

I decided to add myself to the demonstration, hoping the 1080 issue would get more of a profile leading up to the election. Alas, although dirty rivers are now the focus, it looks like this horrific poison will continue to torture, kill and destroy wildlife around the country (as well as pollute rivers and streams).

It was an interesting group of people who participated.

  • One woman had lost her dog to 1080 after a careless drop of the bait near her home.
  • Another woman’s cat has disappeared since a recent drop. (Gareth Morgan would probably approve of that.)
  • Kathy White, a Waikato regional councillor, was the organiser of the event.
  • One man came with his young children, who enjoyed holding up the signs.
  • A teacher and a fisherman also featured.

A hunter arrived with large “Ban 1080” signs on his four-wheel drive and a dead pig as well.

Local papers don’t want to know

Speaking with a local hunter here in Turangi recently he told me he has had to put down about five deer in the bush that he has come across slowly dying from 1080 poisoning. They were in agony and he slits their throats to make their death end quickly.

The demonstration went on for a couple of hours and what was really positive were the number of horn honks and raised thumbs we got from passing vehicles. Two police cars tooted in support. Horns were heard from truck drivers, forestry vans and lots of family cars.

Ever the journalist, I wrote the demonstration up, included photos, and sent the press release off to The Taupo Times and The Taupo Turangi Weekender. Nothing was published.

This bewilders me. It was a news story. Yes, the subject is controversial. All the more reason to include it I would have thought.

One good piece of news, now post-election, is that the Ban 1080 Party actually got more votes than United Future. Mind you, special votes yet to be counted.

# # #