About 20 volunteers with civic pride spent a fair chunk of Sunday cleaning up rubbish from alongside SH12 just outside Opononi, but the richest lode came from an illegal dump site.

Louis Toorenburg, who described it as a horrible day's work, exhorted people to "get real" and dispose of their mess properly the first time, instead of expecting others to clean it up for them.

"Even better, grow your own food. Saves on heaps of packaging in our environment. Recycle where possible," he said.

The clean-up started at the top of Paika Hill, Louis, with Mike Albrecht and Justine Blackey tackling a substantial dump site.


They removed what they could, but a lot of bigger items, including fridges, had to be left behind in the hope that the Far North District Council would send a truck for them at some stage.

Their more distressing finds included hundreds of under-sized paua shells, while a box of documents, complete with names and addresses, identifying the owners as living only a short distance away, have been passed on to the council.

And there were scores of animal skulls, including a couple of dozen from dogs.