Saturday, 13 December 2014

Waikoropupu Springs

I have been visiting' Pupu' springs over the last 25 years...
That's how long I have been coming 'over the hill' to visit
my family who live here. I thought I would go and have
yet another look as it's a place I have always enjoyed...
But not so much this time...
A new car park and toilets have been built...

Seats for a picnic area...

And a new 'whare' with interpretation panels.

I wandered round these... They are very well done...

But I felt extremely disappointed that 90% of the panels related
to Maori folk lore and myths and very little space or
information about the European history.
In 1839 there were about 250 people living in Mohua, (Golden Bay)
representing the Ngāti Tama, Te Ātiawa and Ngāti Rarua tribes.
A few of their descendants still live in Mohua and as mana whenua
of Mohua, have traditional rights at Te Waikoropupū.
Most  Maori in the area have re-located from
the Waikato so are not strictly local.

A map showing the  aerial view of the surrounding bush and farmlands
the track and the location of the springs.

The beginning of the track...
To local Māori, Te Waikoropupū Springs are now considered
a taonga (treasure) and  wāhi tapu, a place held in
high cultural and spiritual regard.
 The waters of Te Waikoropupū Springs, including Fish Creek and Springs
River, are now closed to all forms of contact (including fishing, swimming,
 diving, wading, boating and drinking the water) to safeguard water
 quality and to respect Maori cultural values.
The DoC information board... Says it's a 1km walk...
It's very easy as the track has been upgraded to be wheelchair
accessible and doesn't meander through the bush any more.

It's very beautiful... The water clear and fast running.

The new growth in the middle of the ferns looked stunning...

The forest through here is covered in mānuka and kānuka; indigenous
 plant ‘pioneers’ that re-colonise cleared forest areas and eventually
make way for other species. This vegetation type reflects a
history of disturbance by fire, gold mining, farming and road building.
The reserve now has areas  of regenerating beech-podocarp forest
and a small remnant of tall podocarp forest to the south of
Te Waikoropupū Springs. Besides tawhai (black beech), this area
features rimu, kahikatea, tōtara, mataī and miro. Te Waikoropupū
Springs is also a habitat for submerged mosses and liverworts,
including at least one moss that is found nowhere else.

Early European settlers arrived in the Golden Bay area in the 1830s,
 mainly to build ships and mine for gold, coal and lime. Originally
the area around Te Waikoropupū Springs was covered in lowland
forest. In the early 1860's European and Chinese gold prospectors
turned the serene and beautiful springs and surrounding area upside
down,  cleared the forest, burned the lowland bush and trees to
build water races for sluicing when gold was discovered in the
nearby Anatoki River. The races carried water from the
springs creeks. Boulders were stacked into walls.
 Prospectors and a mining company worked the area.
 Hopes were high but returns were not, by1910 most were gone.

This is what is left today.

The track goes on to a newly constructed viewing platform where
you can gaze and marvel at the colours, aquatic weeds and bubbling water.

 Pupu springs,(translated as Place of the Dancing Sands),  as they are
 affectionately know to locals, are home to the clearest spring 
water in the  world. The only clearer water is the salt water Weddell
Sea  in Antartica. Underwater clarity tests have shown the springs
to have  underwater visibility of 63 meters!
The springs discharge14,000 litres of water per second, are the
largest freshwater springs in New Zealand and the largest 
cold water springs in the Southern Hemisphere at a constant 11.7 degrees.

This is the original viewing platform, divers came from round the
globe to dive and explore the depths of the springs...

A periscope was built on the viewing platform previous to the one
today... That is gone much to many people's disappointment.
It was fabulous to look through it deep into the water with
everything magnified by the glass.

The stunning colours of the water and weeds...

On the walk back you can see
deep holes and springs in the fast running streams...
It was a lovely walk and a fascinating place 
despite the upgrades and the newly
acknowledged Maori rights.

Here's a bit more interesting information that
contributes to it being such a unique place.

The springs exhibit remarkable twice-daily fluctuations in flow.
These correspond to local marine tides, despite the fact that the springs
are 50 meters above sea level and there is no known connection to the sea.
Scientists at NIWA have shown that the tidal effect is caused by
both ocean-loading tides (the movement of the Earth’s crust in response
to ocean tides) and Earth tides (the movement of the Earth’s crust as
a direct result of gravitational attraction to the Sun and Moon).
 The possibility of a subterranean connection to the sea is suggested
 by chemical measurements showing that sea water is  present in the discharge.

Have a look here to read about where the water in the
springs comes from and how it gets there... fascinating!


  1. As a young local caver we used to stop over at Pupu Springs and with wetsuits on, we would "fly" down the river.. very enjoyable.....oh and i see the Blue lake has been determined the worlds best clarity.....