Whew! And all this time we thought the Tukituki was polluted.

Then along came Canadian fisherman Arron Varga to compete in the recent trout fishing competition held on the upper reaches of the Tuki.

He stood in the water, looked down at his boots, and saw them! And so he exclaimed to the CHB Mail: “The water is crystal clear.” (Of course, to illustrate his standard of comparison he also said: “The rivers in Canada tend to be murky.”)

As soon as this was reported, BayBuzz was contacted by HB Regional Councillors Tim Gilbertson and Ewan McGregor, who urged us, to be even-handed, to report this exciting expert insight.

So let’s get this straight. Visiting Canadian fisherman … “water’s clear” … HBRC says: we’re vindicated.

Scores of locals, many with lifelong experience (some, multi-generational) with the river, say the Tuki has big pollution problems and they’re getting worse. HBRC says: they’re a bunch of unscientific crackpots. Let’s submit their information to peer review, if they pay.

Unfortunately, Mr. Varga left town before BayBuzz could reach him.

We would have asked him things like …

  • Were you fishing above or below the oxidation ponds where the sewage comes in?
  • Are you aware that high concentrations of health-threatening bacteria (to say nothing of other contaminants, like heavy metals) can be present in the water without affecting its clarity at all?
  • Would it make sense to you that lots of trout would congregate upstream where you were fishing because they can’t stand the conditions downstream?
  • Did you wash your hands thoroughly when you got out of the water?
  • Would you like to give us your opinion on whether building a regional sports park will reduce teen suicide rates?

Thanks Mr. Varga, we’re happy to have you go back to Canada and spread the good word about “clean, green New Zealand.” Keep sending your buddies over. We’ll continue to keep our secrets to ourselves.

Here at BayBuzz, we’re looking forward to the “gap analysis” on Tukituki water quality and potential improvements that was promised for this Wednesday’s meeting of the HBRC Environmental Management Committee.

Maybe we should send a copy to Mr. Varga … anybody have his mailing address?


P.S. Have you checked out the new info and features on our BayBuzz website lately?

Join the Conversation


  1. Hi Tom

    good to meet you briefly at the mayor's forum. love getting the baybuzz emails – always brightens up my day! Just keep thinking though that you guys should put your journalistic skills to use in a paper with wider circulation – an alternative to HB Today. Everyone I speak to recently is so sick of it and dropping their subscriptions left right and centre (politically speaking too!). We really need a decent alternative – and what you guys could write would not only be an alternative, it would be far superior journalism. I'm sure that you do baybuzz because you enjoy it and can 'vent' in a way that might not be possible in a mainstream paper….but we need you! I'm sure you get this comment from many people…here's hoping another prod might help!

  2. Hi Tom

    Sour Grapes !!!!

    Suddenly there is some empirical evidence from an informed and totally unbiased source and baybuzz doesn t want to know ? The Canadian Fisher man and others in the intrernational competition I spoke to all saw a river in pretty fine conditon full of fish ,clear clean pretty much un polluted. Which it is at the moment because the rain last week lifted the level and flushed out the system .It is still a bit weedy but the water is crystal clear (He wasnt making that up ) and the water quality is good.

    I know this flies in the face of a good story but it is in fact the truth.

    Now that it is raining seriously in the head waters ,the river will be pretty good through iuntil next summer because the temperature has dropped and the water is cooler.

    Might I suggest that what the TT needs is an action group to promote more finanacial support and speedier action to speed up the improvements that still need to made . Like fencing off the rivers from cattle,riparian planting ,land based effluent treatment of sewage etc.

    The regional council and territorials annual plans are up for consultation . That is the time to put the political pressure on.

    Last year apparently there were 3 people at the public meeting on the HBRC annual plan and 4 people attended in Napier .With that sort of public buy in, as opposed to the noise in the press, it is not altogether surprising that HBRC might have questioned the commitment of some people and suspected that they preferred words to action.

    Trust your Canadian, Tom, he knows what he is talking about

    Kai te pai


  3. Tim,

    Unbiased yes … and clueless!

    But I am all for an "action group" to speed up Tuki improvements.

    Perhaps HBRC will surprise us and furnish an action plan?!


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