National | New Year

A kilometre of rubbish left by Rhythm and Vines festival goers

A Facebook reel showing rubbish in Waiōhika believed to have been dumped by Rhythm and Vines festival-goers has caused outrage among Gisborne residents.

Haley Maxwell of Ngāti Porou and Ngāi Tai, posted the original reel that has had more than 20,000 views within the last 24 hours.

Maxwell, who was picking up her daughter, her sister and friends from the festival said she was disgusted to see the amount of rubbish.

“Ka kuhu atu ki te tiriti matua o te whenua rā o Waiōhika, ka kite i te nui o ngā rāpihi e takoto noa ki te whenua, mai i te tīmatanga o te kēti tae atu ki te mutunga o taua wāhi, he āhua kotahi kiromita pea te roa.”

“We entered the main road at Waiōhika Estate and saw a large amount of rubbish just lying around on the land, from the entrance gate right through to the end of the site, it was about a kilometre long.”

Although Maxwell has regularly seen the impact of rubbish on the environment during the annual Rhythm and Vines event, she says this is the most rubbish she’s ever seen that has been dumped.

“Ko te nuinga o mātou ka noho mai ki konei, ia te tau, ia te tau ka tae mai tēnei konohete nui o R&V (Rhythm and Vines) ki Te Tai Rāwhiti - ka pērā.

“For many of us who live here, every year that the concert R&V (Rhythm and Vines) is held here on the East Coast - that’s what happens.”

“He nui ngā raru ka puta mai. Mōhio tonu mātou he nui hoki ngā hua ka puta ki a mātou o tēnei hapori, mō ngā pakihi, mō te taone, ngā whānau, ngā tira waka ama; kapa haka, aha atu, aha atu rānei. Engari ko te mea kino nei ka kitea ia te tau ko te rāpihi tērā, ehara i te mea pai ki ahau me te nuinga.”

“There are many problems. We also know it benefits the community, our businesses in town, families, waka ama teams, kapa haka and more. But with rubbish like this each year, that just doesn’t go well with me and many here.”

Many Gisborne locals and others online have reacted to the post.

Cristall Brooking McClutchie commented, “It’s all about the $$$, Paru (Dirty) humans.”

Nopera Amai posted, “Cancel Rhythm and Vines if it ends up like that all the time. Paru young kids or young adults can’t clean up after themselves.”

Albie Gibson said, “’d think in this day and age where our young people are becoming more aware of our damaged environment, everyone would do their bit and not trash it. But I guess it’s not their place, yep it’s great for the economy but it doesn’t enhance R&Ver’s reputation as bunches of spoilt kids. I’m not naive and we aren’t perfect but by jingoes this is a statement and a half of ‘couldn’t give a ….’

Other posts identified locations in the area where beer bottles and rubbish had been dumped such as beaches.

Maxwell says the problem extended as far as the Waioeka Gorge, about 100 kilometres north-west of the city.

“I hoki mai au i Tāmaki Makaurau i te Tāite, i pērā hoki te āhua o Waioeka ki ngā taha o te rori - he pouaka pia, he pouaka waipiro, he pātara, he kēne waipiro.”

“I returned from Auckland last Thursday and saw the same rubbish dumped in Waioeka on the side of the road - boxes of beer, boxes of alcohol, bottles and cans.”

Maxwell said Rhythm and Vines organisers, Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki and the Gisborne District Council must strategise about “concert goers who have no regard for our lands and our environment, especially after the weather events like Cyclone Gabrielle that have affected the environment in the region.”

Maxwell also pointed out that during the national kapa haka festival, Te Matatini in 2011, more than 50,000 people attended the four-day event without the level of waste created by Rhythm and Vines concert goers.

“Nui ake te mana o te whenua ki tā te mana moni, me te whai pūtea.”

“The land has greater value than that of money and chasing dollars.”

In a statement, Rhythm and Vines said they are committed to taking care of Te Tai Rāwhiti, “as per our yearly process, a thorough post-festival clean-up will be conducted. The main road connecting Gisborne to Waiōhika Estate will be surveyed and cleared of all rubbish to leave the area in the best condition possible.

“We continue to work with suppliers, sponsors, DOC and local iwi to reduce the impact of the festival on the environment. The festival is a Single-Use Plastic Free event, approximately 90% of rubbish produced is recyclable and our BOOKATENT system has reduced landfill waste by over 30 tonnes.”

Te Ao News also contacted the Gisborne District Council and Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki for comment about the video reel. Ngāti Oneone has declined to comment.