A woman who used to visit Northland's Mermaid Pools as a child says they're now "devoid of any life".
Visitors to the popular pools at Matapouri have been seen leaving rubbish behind, including women's sanitary items.
Meetings over the next two weeks will aim to place a rahui over the area.
Kapakaitiaki project manager Ngapera Hohepa wants visitors to be mindful and respectful.
"Knowing that every place in the whole of Aotearoa has a history. If the land could talk, my goodness, wouldn't we hear some amazing stories?"
She remembers fishing as a child at the pools, when they seemed "alive".
"The pools themselves are devoid of any life now. They smell of urine."
The sheer number of visitors to the pools - also known as Te Wai o te Taniwha - have been taking a toll, Aperahama Edwards from Te Whānau ā Rangiwhakaahu hapū told RNZ.
"The water isn't as clear as what it once was, it's very murky, so it's the human waste really, like I say there's no toilets there so you can smell the urine there, the mimi."
Ms Hohepa says even the track to the pools is covered in rubbish.
"Women's used sanitary products are thrown into the bush, bottles. On the daily, we are collecting bags and bags full of that kind of rubbish - on places that are really significant."
A meeting will be held within the next two weeks between hapu and iwi, the Department of Conservation and the wider community.
"Perhaps we have waited too long and as a hapū we're not prepared to wait any longer, something needs to be done and so we've decided to place the rāhui," Mr Edwards told RNZ.