A small Northland community is at its wits' end at having to regularly clean up rubbish, including burned tins and glass, that is possibly contaminating their food source.

The unsavoury behaviour at the end of Waiomio Rd, just south of Kawakawa, is being carried out mostly between midnight and 3am when it's near impossible for residents to identify those responsible.

Tangi Rudolph said the illegal dumping of rubbish has been going on for longer than the two years she had been living in the area but this week's incidents were the last straw.

"My family lives at the end of Waiomio Rd and we notice quite a few cars that drive up our road that we don't know. We're getting fed up.

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"The river runs up Waiomio Valley and when it rains, the rubbish gets pulled down and ends up in the Taumarere River. All along the river kids swim and enjoy the water.

"Bits of old, rusty tin, iron glass and other dangerous stuff gets dumped on the side of the river and children can end up cutting themselves. It's not healthy for anybody," Rudolph said.

A mattress and broken glass are among items of rubbish dumped along Waiomio Rd, close to an important food source for locals. Photo/Peter de Graaf
A mattress and broken glass are among items of rubbish dumped along Waiomio Rd, close to an important food source for locals. Photo/Peter de Graaf

She said about 12 houses were situated along the river and some people drew water from the river because it was fresh from the hills as long as it was boiled.

"But they can't get water if it's contaminated with rubbish. There's also water cress and eels that people rely on."

Rudolph said with the distance between the nearest home and where rubbish was dumped, it was difficult to get to the offenders on time at ungodly hours of the morning.

Last week alone, she said rubbish was dumped three nights in a row and locals have had to clean it up the following day.

''They do it late at night so they know it's wrong. They dump it on the road where locals park when kids go swimming in the stream. It's a hazard to the kids, half of them walk up here without shoes. It affects our whole community. It's disrespectful, it's just rotten," she said.

The noise of what sounded like a trailer rattling on the road at 3am on Wednesday woke up Isobel Karaitiana, who lives nearby.

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''I came down but they saw my light and gapped it.''

Karaitiana said locals used water from the stream, caught tuna and collected watercress from its banks.

Anytime it rained the dumped waste would be washed downstream, polluting the water and endangering children who liked to swim in the stream.

''If this continues the contamination will be terrible,'' she said.

They have not reported the matter to the Far North District Council yet.