ParentsMade possible by

In her own words: a six-year-old on why she’s protesting mining on Mount Karangahake

Ramona AitkenRead is six years old. She is proving that you’re never too little to stand up for the things you believe in. Here she talks about why she’s protesting to protect a mountain.

Three weeks ago New Talisman Gold Ltd began mining operations on Mount Karangahake near Paeoroa, in the heart of a Conservation Estate. Ramona, who lives at the base of Karangahake, has begun a creative protest to let people know what is going on.

Ramona with one of her Protect the Mountain rocks. Photo by her mum Lucy.

I remember how we used to find painted rocks from the different towns around here. Kids would hide them in the parks and other kids would hunt for them. And then we were driving passed Karangahake and I thought we could do it for the mountain.

I asked mum if we could do that and she said “sure!” so we went straight to the river and picked up all the rocks and bought them home and got painting.

First we did white for the base, and then we painted the mountain on them. Mum painted tiny words on them, one of them says “Go away miners!” and some say about how we love our mountain. And then we hided them all around where the bridge crosses the river and then we saw a dead cow in the river.

When people find them I think they will want to help protect Karangahake. So I’m really hoping they’ll join in with all of us protecting Karangahake, and I’d really like everyone to help, because there is already a lot of people.

Everyone is working hard. Last week we climbed the mountain with maybe forty one people and it felt like so long, but it was actually not too long. All the children and adults had signs they had painted. We sang songs and had some food and patted a big friendly dog that was so furry. Like SO furry. And SO big.

We need to protect our mountain. We climbed to the top of it in the summer, and it was a bit muddy, and I could see all the bush and the river and our home. It took all day.

In the mornings I look at the mountain, and I think “Are the miners gonna mine it? We’d better protect it!”

I’m hoping that we can save it.

Ramona and her sister painting their Karangahake rocks. Photo taken by her mum Lucy.

Ramona is part of a group of locals who are uniting to protest the mining of Mount Karangahake. More info can be found at protectkarangahake.org.nz.

She’s painted 50 rocks with her sister Juno (with help from mum and dad for the writing) and hidden them all around Karangahake. She is hoping when people find the rocks they will post photos on social media so she can see who has them – she asks that people tag them #KarangahakeRocks.

Ramona loves watching movies and swimming in the river at the bottom of Karangahake. She can’t wait for summer to come back so she can perfect her dolphin dives.

If your child is passionate about the environment or helping others – we’d love to hear from them. We are keen to start having more childrens’ voices on The Spinoff Parents so please get in touch if your child has a story to tell. Contact Emily at emily@thespinoff.co.nz.

Follow the Spinoff Parents on Facebook and Twitter.


This content is entirely funded by Flick, New Zealand’s fairest power deal. In the past year, their customers saved $489 on average, which would buy enough nappies for months… and months. Please support us by switching to them right now.

The Spinoff Longform Fund is dedicated to facilitating investigative journalism. Our focus is on supporting in-depth reporting on important New Zealand stories. Your donation will help us sustain this most resource-intensive form of journalism, ensuring that the most complex and important stories still get told.