Northlanders protest use of 1080

Hundreds of Northlanders joined a nationwide day of protest on Saturday against the use of the pesticide 1080 with events in Whangarei, Kerikeri, Dargaville, Kawakawa and Kaitaia. In Whangarei, protesters gathered at Mander Park and waved placards and umbrellas with anti-1080 messages, while in Kerikeri more than 100 people marched through town chanting "Ban 1080" and "Department of Conservation, destroying our nation". Protesters scattered fake 1080 pellets and took part in a haka on the Domain at 1pm, timed to coincide with other mass haka around the country. Opposition to 1080 is largely based on claims it kills native animals and birds as well as the pests it targets, poisons domestic animals which ingest it, and gets into waterways. Counter-claims are that the pellets can be dropped accurately and safely, and that 1080 is the only effective way of reducing pest numbers enough to give native birds and forests, some of which are on the brink of collapse, a chance of survival. Photos by Peter de Graaf and Tania Whyte.