Stench of sea lettuce worst it's been in years, says Tauranga Harbour residents

Residents who live near Tauranga Harbour say the stink emanating from sea lettuce is the worst it's been in years.

The Tauranga Harbour's warmer waters combined with its depth and nutrients, make it a perfect home for the blooming algae.

Rebecca Joy-Lawton from the Bay of Plenty Regional Council says when all those factors align blooms of sea lettuce "accumulate" and can be a "bit of a nuisance".

The Tauranga District Council and the Regional Council spend $60,000 removing the dead algae from beaches.

But Carma Cunningham, a resident who lives on Beach Road, says the smell is getting "worse".

"It just hits you and after awhile you can even smell it in your house and as you walk out the door", she says.

The regional council says it's been monitoring sea lettuce since 1991 and although there has been some spikes, it says sea lettuce levels and nutrient levels are stable.

Tauranga Harbour

'Don't want to cause undue panic' – David Parker says testing has begun on toxic foam used by NZ Defence Force

Environment Minister David Parker says Government officials are investigating the use of toxic foam by New Zealand Defence Force fire fighters.

There are fears the foam could have contaminated ground water near Ohakea and Woodbourne airbases.

It follows a scandal in Australia over the use of the suppressant which contained per and poly-fluoroalkyls, or Pfas.

The Defence Force there is facing two class action suits from residents in New South Wales and Queensland. Studies in the US have linked Pfas to cancer.

Environment Minister David Parker faced questions about the issue at Parliament this afternoon.

"Officials from the Department of Health have been knocking on doors today of the approximately 60 households who may be drawing water from bores which need to be tested to see if there are any levels of contaminants," he said.

Mr Parker admitted the previous government had known of the issue and not made it public, but he wouldn't be drawn on how long they had known.

He says he was only made aware of the toxic foam after September's general election.

"Testing is only starting now, I don't want to overstate the health risk here and cause undue panic, I just want to investigate and see if there's a problem," Mr Parker said.

The substances are no longer imported or imported here and neither the Defence Force or fire service "routinely" use the foam.

But officials are talking to other agencies that may use the foams.

There are fears the foam could have contaminated ground-water near Ohakea and Woodbourne airbases. Source: 1 NEWS


'It adds something new' - Shakespeare comedy gets a Maori face-lift at Auckland's Pop-up Globe

A classic Shakespeare play is getting a unique Maori twist when it opens at Auckland's Pop-up Globe theatre tonight.

The new version of comedy, A Midsummer Night's Dream, will feature Maori folklore and te reo weaved seamlessly into the Elizabethan era.

Actor Reuben Butler plays Puck in the play. He told TVNZ1's Te Karere about the new Maori face-lift it received.

"It's definitely something that a lot of people are saying we're glad to see that, it adds something new.

"And it's good to see those characters portrayed as Maori people, it works so well so it's awesome," Butler said.

The Kiwi actor believes the Maori twist means Shakespeare's work will be accessible to a bigger group of people.

"I don't think it's something that's been done that much in terms of delivering the message in a different way, so that it reaches a wider range of people.

"And I'd say that's a big drive to have Maori in there," he said.

Butler isn't the lone Maori of the cast, Te Kohe Tuhaka is the associate director, and Maori designer extraordinaire Shona Tawhiao also has a role.

The Auckland Pop-up Globe's Shakespeare summer season, featuring five different plays, kicks off tonight, and runs until march 2018.


Maori folklore and te reo has been woven into this version of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Source: Te Karere