Did you know that a NZ man died from 1080 poisoning in 1966? … his family is still waiting for NZ authorities to acknowledge this

From stuff.co.nz

The family of a Mataura possum hunter who died from 1080 poisoning 43 years ago want his death publicly acknowledged by the Department of Conservation and Animal Health Board.

Both agencies say no-one has died of accidental 1080 poisoning in New Zealand.

But Ian Buchanan’s widow, 69-year-old Elva Wicks, of Invercargill, said that was not true.

Wicks was 25 years old and the mother of three young children when her first husband, Ian Buchanan, died a “ghastly death” in Dunedin Hospital in 1966.

Coroner J Murray found Buchanan died from “central nervous system depression accompanied by respiratory and cardiac failure due to 1080 poisoning”.

The poison was found by investigators in a tin of jam kept in a back porch cupboard, but it was never discovered how the poison came to be in the jam, or how Buchanan consumed the 1080.

“If DOC and the AHB say they haven’t heard anything about Ian’s death it’s because they don’t want to hear,” Wicks said.

“It is documented on his death certificate – how can they deny it?”

AHB spokeswoman Anne McLean said the manner of Buchanan’s death was unclear.

DOC spokesman Rory Newsam said the department was unaware of Buchanan’s death until alerted by the media this week.




5 thoughts on “Did you know that a NZ man died from 1080 poisoning in 1966? … his family is still waiting for NZ authorities to acknowledge this”

  1. Ignorance by the Southland DHB of this incident is no longer true. About two years ago I requested a meeting to discuss 1080 because it marked a half-century since the Buckannan incident. Initially, the response was positive. Because the DHB signs off on the aerial 1080 permits I wished to alert them that the toxin was more dangerous than the power structure claimed. Preparing papers on the topic I later requested an appointment with the local toxicologist in Invercargill. Intending to present the papers and wishing to introduce a person whose family had alleged ill effects from 1080. Later requesting that appointment I was surprised to find the mood had totally changed and my request was declined. In spite of this, I sent clippings of the incident as well as papers on 1080’s toxicity and noting the 50 year anniversary of Ian Buchanan’s death which I had intended to present. This was important as DOC/AHB claimed at 2014 Hearing for an aerial drop that there were no known clinically proven cases of anyone being poisoned with 1080.

    The Board accepted the papers and thanked me for the information.


      1. They only said, “Thank for the information”.

        I am still a little bit peeved as they were given a pile of information and science (most of it supplied by others) but they choose to ignore it. The Board subsequently signed off on a number of other 1080 permits without question. This response also short-circuited the effort to introduce them to a family that had alleged effects from an operation near their home and were willing to talk about it.

        While this remains only speculation the fact that the DHB person was relaxed about talking to me and then suddenly withdrew was because she may have mentioned this to her superior in Dunedin. It is hard not to believe she was advised to avoid the subject. The response was abrupt!

        If the Waikato family pursues their Health Board and is successful in winning their action I will be returning to the Southland/Otago DHB and will not be nearly as polite.

        Meanwhile, we await the outcome…


        1. Ok, yes sounds like they’ve not have they. Forest & Bird in their FAQ mentions a possible death, just barely acknowledging but with no links or extra information. More dust under the carpet I’d say. Thanks for replying.


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