The Water Conservation Order for Te Waikoropupū Springs and the Arthur Marble Aquifer was applied for by Ngāti Tama Ki Te Tau Ihu and a private citizen, Andrew Yuill . The intention is to put the aquifer on record as being an outstanding treasure so as to protect it from current and any future degradation.

Protecting the aquifer is essential.  The water of Te Waikoropupū is some of the clearest in the world.  By contrast the aquifer that supplies it is almost unknown. Yet the aquifer is crucial in creating the  remarkable qualities of the water. Countless unseen animals and micro-organisms operating within the aquifer play an essential part in creating the outstanding water clarity. The application seeks to recognise and sustain the aquifer’s mauri (life force) and wairua (spirit), and its associated physical and spiritual health and wellbeing.

Friends of Golden Bay supports the application and made an important submission to the Tribunal. In addition to our own submission, we presented a key scientific paper (by Dr Gamlen) highlighting poor practice in relying on a flawed model for predicting nitrate pollution of the Springs, and a second technical paper showing the potential for arsenic pollution from the proposed gold mine at Sam’s Creek.  We include links to our submission and these two papers below.

FoGB submission, WCO.

Evidence of Dr Gamlen.

Sams Creek Geology.  This is an extremely technical paper.  The essential figures on arsenic are on p4.  The implication is that there are some 70,000 tonnes of arsenic mixed with the gold ore, all in the Takaka catchment.  If the ore were mined, how could we be sure the arsenic will stay out of the aquifer?  Is 70,000 tonnes a lot of arsenic?  One perspective is that it’s enough to make a lethal dose for everyone in the world.


We also include a link to the Application itself, as handed to the Minister for the Environment at Te Waikoropupū.  It is a close weaving of mātauranga Maori, Pakeha science, and profound environmental values which cross cultures.  We would recommend anyone to read its earlier sections and reflect on what their own values are.


All the material presented to the Tribunal is available from the EPA website.