Ōmāpere lake considered deadly by locals

By Rukuwai Tipene-Allen

Frustration has flared with residents of Ōmāpere after seeing dead eels in the lake. However, the Northland Regional Council says initial levels were not high enough to trigger any human health concerns.

Toxins cloak Lake Ōmāpere, leaving some residents disgusted.

Ian Mitchell of Te Uri Taniwha says, "It's sick. We're talking people die sick. We're not going to let our children swim in there. If you can see a cow dying from this, what is it going to do to our children?"

Local resident, Paul Andrews, says it is upsetting to see the lake so polluted.  "It's really really bad, " he says.

"I feel we all need to work together to rectify this situation."

Mitchell says locals want to refill the lake with fresh water. because "if it is ignored, it won't get any better".  

He says, "I was there 20 years ago when Niwa said they could bring the lake back to health in 5 years. I said good, let's see. I don't believe they can do that until the lake is filled up again."

Mitchell says the government has put aside a million dollars as part of a fencing and planting programme to combat polluted waterways. But he is not convinced it will help.

He says, "we've been down this track before with the council. Council are always going to feed the Tangata Whenua their band-aid thought, so I say pfft."

The Northland Regional Council were notified about the state of the lake at the weekend. Tests are now underway with results expected over the next couple of days. 

The council will carry on testing the lake water to determine the exact cause and to put safety precautions in place.