Hundreds of opponents to a massive landfill earmarked for Auckland's Dome Valley marched through the city centre today with some messaging for mayor Phill Goff: scrap the dump, or relocate it.
Those demands and a petition were carried all the way down Queen Street and into Aotea Square, but when protesters arrived there Goff was nowhere to be seen, his deputy Bill Cashmore having to apologise on his behalf for making a last-minute no-show.
Waste Management has bought a block of Dome Valley land with the intention of making it Auckland's largest dump. The company has applied for a resource consent for the project.
The site is situated 70 kilometres north of the city, right next to the Kaipara and Hoteo rivers.
Ngati Whātua consider the Kaipara moana an ancestral river, where generations of whānau have fished for kai, bathed and swum.
Dame Naida Glavish from Ngāti Whātua brought her mokopuna along to the protest, saying their well-being was on the line.
"These are my greats and I don't want them inheriting the pollution and the abuse of the environment from Tāmaki Makaurau," she said.
"I grew up on the shores of the Kaipara Harbour. From that Hoteo river runs a little creek called Waikeri. That's where we used to bathe when I was a child and that runs right in front of my marae, Puatahi, and it's under threat."
About 400 people, including Wellsford residents and members of Ngāti Whātua, were on today's hīkoi.
Ngāti Manuhiri representative Mikaera Muru said it was possible leachate from the dump could seep out and harm the wellbeing of his community.
Auckland Council will be accepting public submissions on the resource consent until 31 July.