Mercury in Puhipuhi

Puhipuhi people have previously experienced the poisonous effects of mercury leaching into local streams, and onto farmlands.

The Whangarei District Council used mercury-laden rocks for road metal which resulted in storm runoff leaching into nearby paddocks and killing the pastures. The WDC stopped this practice about 15 years ago, and put up this sign outside the now disused quarry. It reads “mineralised rock potentially harmful to health”


Machinery dragging heavy logs has disturbed mercury-laden soil which then contaminated local streams, and killed tuna (eels) – an important food source.

Historical records show the miners working in the old mercury mine suffered severe illnesses and incurable disease resulting from mercury poisoning.

Toxic dams have been left behind in this area – and kept out of sight. However, this does not mean they are either particularly safe and/or secure. We believe they continue to leak out mercury – 70 years since the old mines were closed down.