4 Sep 2017

Hikoi through Whangarei over Porotī bottling

5:48 pm on 4 September 2017

More than 200 people have marched through Whangarei this morning to protest plans for a water-bottling factory at Porotī Springs.

Protestors march through Whangarei to voice their disagreement with plans to allow Zodiac Holdings to build a water bottling factory at Porotī Springs.

Protesters march through Whangarei to voice their disagreement with plans to allow Zodiac Holdings to build a water-bottling factory at Porotī Springs. Photo: RNZ / Lois Williams

The springs, located west of the city, have been owned by Māori since the 1890s.

Private Auckland company Zodiac Holdings has water rights to the aquifers that have fed the springs for 35 years.

It recently applied to Whangarei District Council to build a bottling factory on its bore site.

With banners flying, the marchers filled the carpark of the Northland Regional Council for a mass haka.

Protestors gather outside the Northland Regional Council. March organiser Millan Ruka is in the right foreground.

Protesters gather at the Whangarei mall. March organiser Millan Ruka is in the right foreground. Photo: RNZ / Lois Williams

Protest march organiser Millan Ruka said more than 1200 people objected to the plan.

Auckland businessmen with no connection to the springs should not be able to plunder the aquifers for private gain, Mr Ruka said.

Some of the older marchers, like Emma Cribb, were in tears.

"It's unjust, it's wrong, and it needs to be rectified... please listen to the people," she said.

The council takes water downstream of the springs to supply Whangarei and Mr Ruka said the protesters had no problem with that.

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