Chained by the neck to the gates of a Taranaki Fonterra factory, a group of protestors disrupted the flow of tankers on Saturday.
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SIMON O'CONNOR/STUFF Rachael Laurie and Rob Baigent-Ritchie sat chained to the gates of the Fonterra Whareroa Factory in Hāwera for hours on Saturday.

The activists, who came from a number of different environmental groups, protested to “send Fonterra a message” about the way the dairy industry operates and its effects on the enviroment, Emily Bailey, of Climate Justice Taranaki, said.

“It’s not just about cows burping.”

Sandra Kyle, Elin Arbez and Summer Aitken sat chained to another gate, seeing tankers have to be detoured to another entrance.
SIMON O’CONNOR/STUFF
Sandra Kyle, Elin Arbez and Summer Aitken sat chained to another gate, seeing tankers have to be detoured to another entrance.

The group started a hīkoi near Fonterra Whareroa Factory in Hāwera at 10am, and four people chained and padlocked themselves to the gate not long after. A fifth person joined in the hours that followed.

They were chained to the main gate that tankers use, and the trucks had to be detoured through another entrance.

A group of about 10 also gathered in support with signs in hand.

Baigent-Ritchie said he protested because he wanted to tell his grandchildren he tried to do something for the environment.
SIMON O’CONNOR/STUFF Baigent-Ritchie said he protested because he wanted to tell his grandchildren he tried to do something for the environment.

Rob Baigent-Ritchie said the way Fonterra operated was a “crime on papatūānuku”.

Baigent-Ritchie said he had grandchildren and wanted to be around for when he had great-grandchildren.

“I just what to be able to look them in the eye when they ask what I’ve done,” he said. “At least I did something. So many of us have done nothing.”

Kyle, Arbez and Aitken all gathered for the same reason, to send Fonterra a message.
SIMON O’CONNOR/STUFF Kyle, Arbez and Aitken all gathered for the same reason, to send Fonterra a message.

Baigent-Ritchie sat alongside Rachael Laurie, whose chain had been cut by security guards with an angle grinder.

Sandra Kyle, of Whanganui, and Elin Arbez and Summer Aitken were chained to another gate.

Security guards stood nearby, and phoned police, as the protestors were chained to gates which would automatically open if there was an emergency.

Sarah Roberts, of Climate Justice Taranaki, spoke to an officer who had been called by Fonterra.
SIMON O’CONNOR/STUFF Sarah Roberts, of Climate Justice Taranaki, spoke to an officer who had been called by Fonterra.

Police arrived just before 3pm, but the group had already removed themselves from the gates.

In an emailed statement, a Fonterra spokesperson said the company “respects people’s right to protest”.

The spokesperson also said Fonterra had “been making good progress” on initiatives outlined in its latest sustainability report.

Highway closures force Okanagan dairy farmers to dump milk as it can’t get to Coast for processing.

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