More than 100 people were out in force in Rotorua today, protesting the use of the pesticide 1080.

The peaceful protest was organised by Julz Olsen, who said it acted as a warm-up to the nationwide protest planned for next weekend.

At today's protest, a group stood on every corner of the intersection of Fairy Springs and Kawaha Point Rds. Next weekend there will be a mass journey from Turangi to Parliament in Wellington.

The protest was organised by Julz Olsen (centre).
The protest was organised by Julz Olsen (centre).

Olsen said they had been supported by the Rotorua community and passersby had been tooting their car horns.

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There were also protests in Te Teko and Taupō.

"All we want to do is get our voices heard to say 'Aotearoa doesn't want 1080 in our country any more'."

Olsen said the use of the pesticide was an issue close to his heart.

The protest on the corner of Fairy Springs and Kawaha Point Rds.
The protest on the corner of Fairy Springs and Kawaha Point Rds.

"I've been a pig hunter my whole life and had friends lose dogs to 1080.

"If you lose your team of dogs to 1080 that's your livelihood gone ... it hits home for me and all my whānau and friends who pig hunt and live off the land.

"Our kids are going to have nothing in the future."

Olsen said, in his opinion, there were viable alternatives to 1080.

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"Just because it's the easiest way it doesn't mean it's the best."

Olsen will be part of the group marching to Parliament next weekend, but said there would be another peaceful rally in Rotorua at the same time, the details of which are still being confirmed.

The Operation Ban 1080 group opposes the use of the pesticide because it says it kills native animals as well as the pests it targets.

But the Department of Conservation says the pesticide has benefits.

"Stoats are notoriously difficult to target directly so by targeting rats and possums, the uptake of bait means that stoats will eat the carcasses and die," Tauranga-Rotorua District office operation manager Jeff Milham said.

"This method has been extremely successful in protecting kaka, robins and whio in their attempts to nest."

The department website said the pesticide was biodegradable, cost effective and could be deployed rapidly.

About 1080

• Pesticide is poisonous to humans and domestic animals. Dogs are highly susceptible to 1080.
• Eliminate risk by avoiding touching bait, watching children, and not eating animals from the area.
• If you suspect poisoning contact a doctor, hospital or the National Poisons Centre on 0800 764 766 (urgent) or 03 479 7248 (non-urgent).