Action for Archey’s – The Parakiwai Protest

Early on Saturday morning, residents and friends of the Coromandel led by the legendary Coromandel Watchdog group took a two hour walk uphill to the Newmont gold drilling rig in the Wharekirauponga area of the Forest Park.

Newmont has been drilling in this area for several years and claims to be pretty excited by the potential for mining in this beautiful and mountainous habitat. They are unconcerned that it is also the habitat of the Archey’s frog, which is one of the world’s most endangered and ancient creatures, and a popular recreational area for our communities.

Archey’s frog

Last year one of their rigs was closed down for a day but this weekend a group of stalwarts camped in this cramped area, closing down the rig for more than 30 hours.I spent Sunday at the entrance to the forest, welcoming residents who were heading off to support the protest and watching the Newmont security guards watching us.

They very kindly offered to spray our boots to help stop the spread of kauri die back, but unfortunately there is no spray to stop mining incursions in precious habitat.

Although closing down a drilling rig for 30 hours is an isolated action, these actions all send an important message to the mining industry and to the public.

Not everyone can take this kind of action in the forest, but we can all support the vision. We need the forest just as the endangered frogs do, we need to love and protect it from mulinational miners, we can do this and we should.

Parakiwai valley
Parakiwai valley
Locals coming out to protest Newmont
Locals coming out to protest Newmont




7 Comments Posted

  1. Waihi Gold (Newmont)clearly states that they are only interested in underground resources near Waihi. The drills are slowly looking for any strong vein intercepts in the area, and the fact that there is only one drilling machine up there, implies that nothing too exciting has been found yet. If something was found, it would be a targeted underground mine, and these take many years to organise, but have a small footprint.

  2. In the interests of proper disclosure, if they find Gold, aren’t they going to actually go back to get the MINING privileges?

    The point is that there IS no point, unless mining goes ahead. Which is what makes the drilling itself pointless unless there is clear intent to actually allow them to do something really damaging here.

    gNatwits – more damaging than any other force in New Zealand.

  3. Thanks for the information Catherine. However the Helms butterfly is known throughout the Coromandel Peninsular, and there are other pockets in NZ, particularly in Beech forest. Wasps are a major predator, not exploration engineers. Wiki: “It feeds on Gahnia spp. and is found mainly in beech (Nothofagus spp.) forest. It has become more endangered due to the rarity of its food plant and the introduction of predatory wasps to New Zealand that prey on their larvae.”

    The drilling team are flown in, along with the single rig. The rig and other gear has to occupy a tiny space of a few square metres each time, no more. Perfectly possible to check that space carefully within 2 hours I’d have thought.

    You haven’t confirmed that the bush around there is in fact regenerating, most of the kauri trees there are only 30 years old.

    I agree that Archey’s Frog is well worth looking after though. I just doubt there are any of them within kilometres of the WKP location that is of future interest, and in any case their cause would be helped more, if Watchdog extricated some research money from Newmont as a contra.

  4. Re the frogs, Rhil Bishop from Otago University who is the Chair of the World Amphibian Alliance and a frog expert spoke at a public meeting in Whangamata last year, he says the area of the Coromandel range under threat from drilling is definitely Archey habitat. The mining company asked a Rotorua environmental consultancy to check out the drill sites for Archeys, the report was based on a two hour daylight search of the sites and no Archeys found. Phil Bishop said that was ridiculous, he said as the world expert on this tiny species he could not have found this frog under these conditions. We have his complete support standing up for this habitat. The area is also home to the rare Helms butterfly. The track into this area is well used and clearly its a popular tramping area.

  5. In the interest of proper disclosure, isn’t the nearest known Archey’s Frog ‘real-life’ habitat 20km away from the drill site? And don’t the explorers check carefully for the absence of any native frogs or other fauna before working in an area?

    Can we be told how pristine is the bush near the site environs, or is it regenerating mostly? How many locals use this remote area each year, excluding those protesting?

  6. Key govt is good at endangering people; you think they will care about frogs? I doubt it very much.

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