A protest march on Waitangi Day will aim to focus council and central government attention on sewage woes afflicting the Hokianga Harbour.

A number of council wastewater treatment plants serving Hokianga towns are well past their use-by dates, which locals say is polluting a historically and spiritually significant harbour.

Godfrey Rudolph, a teacher and Green Party candidate in the 2017 election, said it was a Treaty issue and a human rights issue, hence the Waitangi Day protest.

''We're swimming and eating from an area with human waste,'' he said.


Hokianga residents had been raising their concerns with the Far North District Council for years with little effect.

''It's becoming a real issue. The sewage systems put in place in the late 1970s aren't suited to the world we live in now.''

Protest organiser Godfrey Rudolph. Photo / file
Protest organiser Godfrey Rudolph. Photo / file

The hikoi was being organised by Wai Maranga Mai Hokianga, which brought together various hapū and environmental groups. It would start outside Te Tii Marae at 11am on February 6 with the route to be confirmed.

''If we don't do anything nothing will happen. We want to bring what's happening to this iconic harbour to national attention. It's a national treasure,'' Rudolph said.

The group was calling for a new and sustainable sewage plant for Rawene and Opononi/Omapere, and it was looking to the government to help.

As one of the socio-economically ravaged areas of New Zealand it was not something Hokianga ratepayers could afford on their own, Rudolph said.

''If the harbour goes, the wellbeing — physical and spiritual — of the people goes as well. They don't want to be walking shadows.''

The Far North District Council had not responded to Advocate inquiries by edition time yesterday.


Meanwhile, the Opononi/Omapere Ratepayers and Residents Association (OORA) is holding a public meeting this Saturday about a proposal to set up ''an alliance of residents and interest groups'' representing the wider Hokianga community.

Such an alliance would allow individuals and groups to be more effective by working together and sharing ideas and resources.

OORA secretary Raeone Dellaca said it was anticipated that concerns about the health of Hokianga Harbour, and the need for a comprehensive environmental study, would be a major focus of the alliance.

Sources of contamination included discharges from Hokianga and Kaikohe wastewater plants, agriculture and the algal-bloom-affected Lake Omapere.

The inaugural meeting would decide on a steering committee as well as the structure and frequency of future meetings. Attendees should come with ideas and offers to become actively involved, she said.

The meeting will be held from 1pm to 4pm on January 26 in Rawene Hall. Email dellaca.rae@gmail.com for the agenda.