'Ghastly' stench in Christchurch a mystery as woman starts petition calling for action

A mystery stench similar to fish in a Christchurch neighbourhood has led to a call for action. 

Resident Catharina van Herwaarden has pounded pavements in the suburbs of Bromley, Woolston and Linwood gathering signatures.

The Bromley woman says the retirement she was looking forward to has become a "prison sentence".

"[For] the last two years, I just can't do gardening [because] I can't stand that smell," she told Newshub.

Van Herwaarden said the stink sticks to her and everything in her house.

"I taste it - it's on my lips," she said. "It smells like death - like something has rotted."

She told Newshub other residents know exactly what she's talking about and have been eager to sign the petition.

Van Herwaarden said she can't sell her home in Bromley because she doesn't want to inflict the ghastly odour on anyone else.

She's calling for action from local authorities.

"It gets into the house and everything in my house stinks."

Environment Canterbury (ECan) has described it as a "complicated situation".

ECan's Nick Daniels told Newshub a major programme began last year to better understand the situation and capture data.

"There are lots of industries doing lots of different processes out in that area," he said.

"We've tried to move beyond just chasing the really acute odours that are the really nasty ones and look more to underlying odours."

There have been about 330 odour complaints from the area during the past year.