Southland farmer locks gates to swimming hole after nappies left on bank

The Waikaia River, Southland.
The Waikaia River, Southland. Photo credit: Google Earth.

A Southland town is one swimming hole down as a farmer locked his gates after finding soiled nappies on the riverbank.

Waikaia farmer Ray Dickson cut off access to the spot, known by locals as Roly's Rock, after finding dirty nappies in grass on the riverbank.

A Facebook post on December 29 by the local store, café  and post office explained the closure.

"The landowner will be locking the gate to Roly's Rock tonight until further notice."

The post said people needed to ensure they were taking all their rubbish away with them.

"A reminder to everyone enjoying access to the riverside that you are responsible to remove all your rubbish when it's time to go home."

Mr Dickson told Stuff that he was sad people had to miss out on the swimming spot because of the actions of others.

"Ninety nine percent of people are bloody wonderful. The local kids and the camping ground kids come down here and they all take their rubbish away."

He said he found the nappies in cutty grass on the side of the river, suggesting they had been purposely placed there.

"You don't lie your baby down in cutty grass to change it do you? They were kind of concealed there, so it wasn't an accident".

Locals supported the decision to close the gate, one person saying on the Facebook post that he had also picked up "a heap of" beer bottles at a different local swimming spot.

Others said it was a "shame to spoil the place" and that swimming at Roly's Rock was "a privilege, not a right".

Keep New Zealand Beautiful launched an anti-littering campaign last year, after a week-long countrywide rubbish collection found enough litter to fill 140 rugby fields to half a metre full.


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