The Waitara River has been through everything from industrial discharges, wastewater leaks and dairy pollution. Several generations of the manawhenua Te Atiawa and other residents have fought industry and local councils to protect this river and the marine environment being impacted by pollution.
Tangata whenua have led the fight in an ongoing battle to protect kaimoana and the reef off the river mouth from sewage pollution.
They have also had to challenge the industrial waste dumped into tributaries of the Waitara. These industrial discharges are much reduced today, but sewage continues to affect the river.
The Friends of the Waitara River group have legally challenged Taranaki Regional Council over the sewage issue, but have had to pay huge legal fees to fight for the river. The river is also impacted by nutrients and sediment from dairy farming upstream.