Kapehu Marae leaders and about 20 Arapohue residents went head to head with chicken producer Tegel Foods at a heated consultation hui, including a street protest, in Auckland last week.
The hui, called by Tegel but without consulting the marae, was supposedly part of the consultation process over Tegel’s proposal to construct a broiler poultry farm to house more than 1.3 million chickens at Arapohue, and came after Kapehu
Marae declined permission for the proposal to proceed as an immediate neighbour.
Kapehu marae chair, professor Margaret Mutu, said the marae had notified the Northland Regional Council, Kaipara District Council and the applicant, Tegel Foods Ltd, through its agent, Tonkin and Taylor Ltd, that having considered the Assessment of Effects on the Environment provided to the councils, it opposes the development.
“Tegel has responded by calling hui of Kapehu Marae in Auckland without the knowledge or the permission of the marae,” she said.
“Both our marae and urupa — cemetery — are on the boundary of the property Tegel intends to purchase for this development.
“The closest of the 32 sheds, each housing more than 40,000 broiler chickens, is less than 350 metres from the urupa. The proposal requires extensive quarrying which will take place in the paddock next to the wharenui — meeting house — on the marae.
“Once the development is completed, 40 tonnes a day of litter, excrement and dead birds will be burnt on site and will discharge a constant stream of toxic contaminants through two 16 metre high chimneys towards Kapehu urupa and marae and the surrounding environment. The application shows that the toxins and the odour will be a major problem for the development especially when sheds are being cleaned at the end of each six week cycle. Dust, which will also contain toxins, will also be problematic and pollute the marae’s water supply.”
A further request for information was sent to Tegel by the NRC, dated May 29, asking for clarification on who Tegel is liaising with from the marae, along with other information provided in the consent application.
Dargaville Chicken Farm Community Information group member, Rosie Donovan, said the group will always be there to support the marae.
“One nice thing that has come out of this is that it has almost strengthened our community.”
Full public hearings on Tegel’s application will be held from August 8 at the Lighthouse Function Centre in Dargaville with three commissioners to be confirmed by Kaipara District Council at a meeting on June 26.