'Such disrespect': Northland waterfall closes after being polluted by filthy nappies, beer cans

The Honeymoon Valley Waterfall is popular in summer.
The Honeymoon Valley Waterfall is popular in summer. Photo credit: Facebook/Roberta Nathan.

A popular Northland waterfall has had its access gates closed after landowners became fed up with the amount of rubbish being left and visitors disrespecting the land.

The Honeymoon Valley Waterfall in Peria, near Kaitaia, has been open for public access for decades - and on a hot summer's day, attracts around 30 people cooling down in its waters.

Donna Nathan, a member of the whānau who owns the land, told Newshub that closing the accessway was not an ideal outcome, but it was necessary.

"It was really disappointing," she said. "We've always had the gates open for people to come through and use the place."

Her daughter, Roberta Nathan, said the waterfall access had been open all her life, and was a very special place to her family.

"I myself feel that it is our duty to protect the land, for the land has given us the tools and opportunity to have a sustained life."

She said over the years, the family had dealt with people littering and doing stupid things on their land.

"We've had people skid on the flats and flip into the water, graffiti on the rocks, smashed glass where our tamariki swim and bathe - the list goes on."

'Such disrespect': Northland waterfall closes after being polluted by filthy nappies, beer cans
Photo credit: Facebook/Roberta Nathan.

Donna Nathan said they had been cleaning up the property at least three times a week before the gate was closed, clearing around half a rubbish bag each time.

But she said the plastic rubbish wasn't the worst of it.

"There's no toilet there, my whānau know to go to the toilet before we head down there, but I've been told that there have been people doing their business in the water."

She said there was a clear lack of respect from some visitors - and before the gates open again, she will be looking into funding for a toilet facility on site.

"The little things amount to a lot; we need to do a little bit more ourselves so we can continue to enjoy the waterfall, and the public can too."

Roberta Nathan said she didn't want to point fingers at anyone in particular, and it would need a collective effort to ensure the place can be reopened and used by all.

"It's more about holding people accountable, like the true saying goes: 'You don't know what you have until it's gone'."

Roberta posted the news of the gate closure to a local community Facebook page, where it was met with support.

"Sad to hear of such disrespect. Much appreciation for your generosity in allowing access to this stunning tāonga all this time," said one commenter.

Roberta said the community response has been overwhelmingly positive, and she thanked everyone for their words of encouragement about the decision.


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