The New Zealand Government was the original polluter who caused the contamination that seriously affected the condition of the land on which Killara stood.
In 1961, a shipment of beef carcasses exported to the USA was rejected due to the meat being contaminated with DDT, Lindane and Dieldrin.
The Government immediately banned organochlorine insecticides containing; Dieldrin, Aldrin, Benzene hexachloride (BHC), Lindane, and DDT for use on livestock. These had been in general use as powders, dips, and sprays to control insect attacks on the animals.
The chemicals were collected and the farmers compensated. They were stored initially in local stores and later centralised in larger storage units. The store serving Kerikeri was in Waipapa, it is still in the same place today.
Although the insecticides were collected, the question of disposal of the material had not been resolved. They decided to aerial spray the insecticides onto Crown land, largely land planned to be turned into pasture by the Department of Lands and Survey at the time.
In Northland near Kerikeri, three areas, Puketona, Puketotara and Kapiro were selected to spray, they all radiate out from the Kerikeri airfield which was in a fledgling state at the time. Killara stood at the bottom of the Kapiro block, Farm AG, it was the closest part of the block to the airfield.
The chemicals were stored for several years, most stores were open sided and they had decayed badly by the time the spraying began. A large volume of the material was not in a sprayable condition due to the poor storage. Disposing of it was going to require a different solution.
In the 1990’s an independent report on the whole event was commissioned. The Loe Pearce report included photographs of one of the stores showing the condition of the chemicals, shown below.
The sprayable material was sprayed in 1963-64 on large areas on New Zealand close to where it had been collected. All the records of the spraying and the disposal of the remaining chemicals were then destroyed all over New Zealand.
In 1991, it became apparent that some of the remaining chemicals had been taken out onto the spray targeted land blocks and buried. Several dumps have now been located but the majority have not been found. Kerikeri was recorded as the area where the amount of material collected was the largest in New Zealand, disposing of the remaining chemicals was a major issue.
The 1966 map of the area, seen above is very useful, the airfield would have been about 2 miles South of farm AG. On the right part you can see the location of farm AG. The Waipapa stream runs along the boundary between farms AI, AH and AG. The chemicals would not have been sprayed into the stream or where runoff into it would have occurred such as farms AI and AH.
The left part of the image has Ness Road doing a right angled turn in front of what would become Noel Hodges Farm AG, farmhouse site. The pink shaded area is the land we owned from 2005, on the right hand side of our land is our driveway, a seriously constructed single track road clearly built to carry heavy traffic and in existence in 1966 before the site was handed over to Noel Hodges as the tenant farmer.
The ridge over the stream would have been clearly visible in the 1960’s, Noel would later plant a windbreak along the line of fall, Killara was protected from the Southerly wind by these trees. The windbreaks can be clearly seen surrounding the ex-orchard part of our land on the current Google Map image below.
Farm AG was farmed by Noel Hodges who subdivided the southernmost section off to form the Killara site.
The current Google map image, left, shows the site where Killara stood. You can see the drive leading from Ness Road. It is also seen on the 1966 map, the drive is industrial standard, not your normal domestic driveway.
Why was it built to carry
heavy traffic in the 1960’s?
The Killara site is on a ridge about 10-15 metres higher than the Waipapa stream, the land is sedimentary heavy clay with a thin layer of volcanic material over it tapering down to zero depth as you reach the windbreak which were built on the edge of the ridge.
The soil under where Killara stood was solid clay with a thin layer of volcanic soil on top, it would have been an ideal spot to bury the chemicals with no chance of leaching out to pollute the stream below and easy access due to the drive which was probably built to allow heavy truck access to the burial spot.
In the 1980’s Noel Hodges fruit crops had repeatedly failed and he had decided to sell off our land probably to recoup the wasted expense of installing the windbreak around the site. The Johnson’s apparently built a house/barn roughly where later Killara would stand. It was right on top of the chemical dump which after 15 years would have been indistinguishable from the land around it. Possibly it was a flat area offering an easy solution to a building site.
When in 2005 our digger driver did a deep excavation for the installation of our swimming pool he cut through some of the dumped material. We had no idea, assuming it was just a farmers waste disposal and the digger driver seemed unconcerned and wanting to complete the job as quickly as possible without Council interference. We knew no better so left it to him. The items exposed looked very similar to the items seen in the store image above, I paid little attention.
The digger reburied the items but I was not involved, I know the areas in which he worked but not the precise spot he reburied the items.
The library in Killara was on the ground floor, close to the eastern end of the swimming pool. There was a strange chemical smell in the room if the windows had been left closed for any time, sitting in the room was unpleasant in these conditions, eyes began to cry and throats got sore causing coughing. In 2008 following a long cold spell, the situation was particularly bad, we called the Northern Regional Council who sent an officer to inspect the room. He recommended we got an independent expert to take air samples so we could find the cause and rectify the problem. Since we hardly used the room we just continued to leave the windows open most of the time. Once I read the Loe Pearce report I realised the smell was DDT, I had used it as a teen to kill ants entering our family house.
In December 2011, IAG’s fire investigators cleared the library down to the bare concrete slab. The slab had a serious crack across it and careful examination showed the floor was bulging very slightly which had caused the crack. We filled the crack with soapy water and after 30 mins small bubbles had formed showing a gas was still escaping from under the slab. We attempted to ignite the gas but failed showing the gas was not flammable methane.
Unfortunately, ASB cleared the site totally in April 2012 removing the floor slab in its entirety. No further investigation was done.
Overall, the New Zealand Government used our land as a
TOXIC WASTE DUMP
in the 1960’s and destroyed all records of their actions.
They sprayed the land with toxic chemicals, we never tested the land for their presence. Then they may have buried tons of the chemicals in a clearing near the ridge over the Waipapa stream served by a track constructed to allow heavy vehicles access to the site.
After a short time the land was cleared to allow it to be farmed, at that time this was completed by spraying the bush with 2,4,5 T herbicide, the same chemical that the US Army was spraying on VietNam – as part of Agent Orange. Manufactured by the Dow factory in Paritutu, New Plymouth. A side product of the manufacture of 2,4,5 T is DIOXIN, one of the most deadly chemicals known to man.
The damage to people due to the the DIOXIN in 2,4,5 T in VietNam are still being seen today with many malformed babies caused by the exposure to DIOXIN still being born. The dosage rate required to kill NZ Gorse was actually higher than that used by the US Army in VietNam.
So in addition to being used as a toxic waste dump our land
was cleared by the New Zealand Government
with a chemical containing DIOXIN and it may still exist in the soil.
What happens next however is incredible!
Noel Hodges tried to grow FRUIT! He first planted the windbreaks around the site to protect the ORCHARD of fruit trees. However, the layer of volcanic soil was too thin and the sickly crops were attacked by insect pests. Noel sprayed the crops with the New Zealand Government approved LEAD ARSENATE spray. This was supplied as a solid and mixed on site, there was no controls on the amount sprayed or concentration used, spills occurred and the process was repeated with inadequate results.
The local Council then allowed Noel Hodges to sell the land
and let people live on it, ignoring the history detailed above.
This land should NEVER have been allowed to
be classified as RESIDENTIAL!
However, the Johnson’s bought the land and lived on it, we do not know if they continued to grow fruit and spray with Lead Arsenate. It was only banned in 1988 in New Zealand.
We do know they got very ill, sold the property and moved to the Middle East returning to the teaching profession.
In summary the land on which Killara was built and sold to us had the following TOXIC chemicals sprayed or buried onto it during its history:
Organochlorine insecticides containing;
Dieldrin, Aldrin, Benzene hexachloride (BHC), Lindane, DDT and more.
2,4,5 T contaminated with DIOXIN
Lead Arsenate and other chemicals used in Orchards
All have been banned after their use on our land, all are deadly if you are exposed to them and all persist in soil for 50 years or far longer.
The New Zealand Government were directly responsible for the use of our land as a TOXIC WASTE DUMP and were apparently so ashamed of their actions that all the records were destroyed in an attempt to remove them from the history of New Zealand.
The New Zealand Government used 2,4,5 T to clear the bush and only banned it in 1987. The US Department of Agriculture had banned its use in 1970 so the dangers were clearly well known.
The Government approved use of Lead Arsenate was allowed until 1988 but many countries had restricted its use far earlier, the far safer DDT being used in its place.
Had the land been restricted to agricultural use, in particular cattle, then there would have been little or no danger to human life. The Government’s destruction of the records of which areas were used as a toxic waste dump also removed the block against the reclassification of the land.
The other issue of importance is the removal or non inclusion of any of the above events on the LIM report relating to the property. Again, the Council had even removed the reference to the HAIL rating of the ex orchard property which would have prevented us proceeding with the purchase. All the safeguards that should have warned us about the possible contamination of the Killara site had been deliberately removed by the Government and the local Councils!
All of the above however, has got to be viewed against the publicity material supplied to us in the successful attempt by the New Zealand Government to induce us to emigrate to NZ.
New Zealand was, in their publicity material, 100% Pure,
it doesn’t have the ‘POLLUTION, congestion and
HEALTH ISSUES often found elsewhere.’
We believed these statements until 2010! It is hard to accept that the NEW ZEALAND government polluted our land so seriously then made the claims above ! Even harder to believe that it is still in place today!
The damage to our health due to the exposure to these toxins is beyond measure, the effect on our insurance claim for the loss of the property is easily accessed. IAG were seriously biased against us by the fact that the land was contaminated and we believe that this led to their actions allowing them to decline the claims. It was proven that we had nothing to do with causing the fire but IAG still refuse to meet the claims.
We believe that the NZ Government should compensate us for some, if not all, of the losses we suffered due to their deceptions and actions detailed above.returning