An urgent injunction has been lodged in the Māori Land Court Te Taitokerau to stop the Department of Conservation making 1080 drops over public or private land.
The injunction was accepted at the Te Taitokerau land court in Whangārei on Thursday afternoon on the grounds of the urgency of the case, said a spokesman for the applicants.
The injunction will be considered today. Lodged by Northland men Riki Ngatoki and Hayward Brown, it was prepared with the help of Nga Tikanga Māori Law Society Inc.
The Department of Conservation (DoC) is due to drop 1080 poison over Russell State Forest and part of Cape Brett in the next two weeks, weather permitting, after laying taster bait last week.
A spokeswoman said a copy of the injunction was delivered to the Whangārei office late last week.
DoC has called off all planned drops until the outcome of the injunction is known, she said. DoC could not comment further while the matter was in that process.
The injunction did not specify the Northland drops but applied to the use of 1080 anywhere over Māori land in New Zealand, Ngatoki said.
Another case is expected to be heard in the Environment Court this week, lodged by Auckland opponents of 1080 trying to stop a drop in the Hunua Ranges.
But Nga Tikanga Māori Law considers the matter its injunction is based on is about land and ownership rights.
It is understood Māori Land Court injunction refers to land boundaries and legal descriptions in the intended Northland drop zone.
Ngatoki said the underlying argument is about returning to tangata whenua the right to say what happens on Māori-owned land. He said poisoning the land and water was not part of the values of past generations or of tikanga Māori.
In recent weeks, it was announced a 20-year forest health plan led by neighbouring hapu in partnership with DoC would manage the pest control and restoration of the badly affected Russell forest.
The Cape Brett drop had been tacked on to the greater Russell Forest operation at the request of landowners in that locale. It was not a DoC- or hapu-instigated plan but its inclusion was considered timely to share operation costs.
A roopu mangai, or lead group, of representative from the nine hapu within the affected Russell Forest areas and drop zone has been charged with sharing information back to marae and other hapu groups.
Opponents have questioned the level of consultation and depth of information-sharing leading up to the planned poison drops.
While not disputing the fact the forests are being decimated by possums and other pests the poison would knock back, many people felt there was not a collective mandate.
Meanwhile, on Friday Forest and Bird released helicopter footage of Russell State Forest showing tōtara, northern rātā and pūriri dying on a large scale.
Forest and Bird drone footage released two years ago was a catalyst for a sped-up, pro-1080 push that has brought the matter to this point.
Forest & Bird has described the remote, rugged Russell Forest as being on the brink of collapse.