8 Aug 2018

Nearly 80 protest Tegel's mega chicken farm

8:42 pm on 8 August 2018

Nearly 80 Kaipara locals, iwi and animal rights activists gathered outside Tegel's Auckland headquarters today protesting its plans to build the country's largest chicken farm in Northland.

Tegel protesters

Tegel protesters Photo: RNZ/ Jessie Chiang

Tegel has applied for resource consents to raise nine million birds a year, partly in barns, 12km south of Dargaville, near the Northern Wairoa River.

But the proposal has been met with strong opposition.

A hearing about it was originally set for today but was delayed by Tegel which has requested additional time to respond to issues raised through the consenting process.

It previously told RNZ it needed to get more data on odour modelling, which could take months, because the technology it wanted to use is in Europe.

Rosie Donovan lives in Dargaville and made the three-hour journey to Auckland to march in protest against plans for the farm.

Locals had been ready to present their case at the hearing, she said.

"Tegel has suspended it and basically put us all in limbo by not telling us when the hearing will be rescheduled for," she said.

"These stalling tactics ... they're not good enough and we're just going to keep the pressure on until Tegel pulls out."

Kāpehu marae is also firmly against the farm and said the chicken sheds would be close to their urupa, or cemetery.

Kuia Betty Shine has been at all the protests and meetings so far and said she would continue to fight for future generations.

Betty Shine, Kāpehu Marae kuia

Betty Shine, Kāpehu Marae kuia Photo: RNZ/ Jessie Chiang

Shane Campbell, who has 'tīpuna buried in at the marae, said he was protesting on behalf of them.

"I'm here to speak for the people who can't speak and that's my ancestors who are buried in the marae," he said.

Tegel said it remained committed to working with the Arapohue and wider Dargaville communities as it went through the resource consent process.

Tegel protest sign

Tegel protest sign Photo: RNZ/ Jessie Chiang

It had previously told RNZ that while there has been opposition to the farm, it has support too.

Nobody from Tegel came out to speak to the protesters today, but the company said it acknowledged the right to peaceful protest.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs