Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


A management plan for Te Waikoropupū Springs is now in place setting out how the internationally important Golden Bay site will be managed for the next 10 years.

Date:  06 April 2009

A management plan for Te Waikoropupū Springs is now in place setting out how the internationally important Golden Bay site will be managed for the next 10 years.

The Te Waikoropupū Springs Management Plan was developed in consultation with the public and approved by the Nelson/Marlborough Conservation Board. It will guide and direct the Department of Conservation’s management of Te Waikoropupū Springs and the surrounding scenic reserve. 

Nelson/Marlborough Conservation Board chairperson Judy Hellstrom said provisions in the management plan were aimed at protecting the outstanding natural, cultural, historic and scenic values of Te Waikoropupū Springs and the scenic reserve.

“Te Waikoropupū Springs, New Zealand’s largest freshwater springs and the largest cold water springs in the Southern Hemisphere, are internationally renowned for their water clarity, second only in the world to the Weddell Sea in Antarctica. The springs are registered as a wahi tapu/sacred site under the Historic Places Act 1993.

“Te Waikoropupū Springs is the most visited attraction in Golden Bay with between 50,000 to 60,000 visitors each year. The management plan contains provisions to maintain the naturalness of the reserve and for it to be a place visitors enjoy for its natural quiet and tranquillity.

“The plan states an intention to improve visitor information and interpretation on the natural, historic and cultural values of Te Waikoropupū so it more appropriately reflects the international and national significance of the springs.

“Bylaws prohibiting recreational contact with the waters of Te Waikoropupū Springs were put in place in 2006 by the Department to protect the springs from the invasive alga didymo and these are still in effect.

“As the didymo risk is expected to remain for the foreseeable future the by-law prohibiting contact with the waters is also expected to remain in place. The plan though includes provisions on what contact with the waters would be allowed should the current closure to contact with the waters be revoked. Under the plan, drift-diving and swimming would be permitted in Fish Creek from an access point below the car park. The plan prohibits contact with the waters of the Main Spring and Dancing Sand Spring.

“These provisions are for the protection of the natural environment, as damage to vegetation and the bed of the springs was occurring where divers used to get in and out of the Main Spring. They are also in keeping with wanting to retain the natural quiet and tranquillity of the springs area. Additionally, they recognise the concern of Manawhenua ki Mohua that bodily contact with the springs’ waters is inappropriate given the site’s wahi tapu/sacred status.”

Other provisions in the management plan are:

  • Changing the name of Pupū Springs Scenic Reserve to Te Waikoropupū Springs Scenic Reserve to more adequately acknowledge the significance of Te Waikoropupū Springs to Manawhenua ki Mohua and the local community. The plan also states intention to seek a change of name for the road that provides access to the reserve from Pupū Springs Road to Te Waikoropupū Springs Road.
  • Concessions for commercial recreation activities are to be limited to guided walking tours and one-off group activities with guided walking groups to contain no more than 20 people plus one or two guides.
  • DOC will encourage the Tasman District Council, which manages the water resources of the Takaka Valley, to put measures in its proposed Takaka Water Catchment Management Plan that help protect, preserve, and where possible enhance, the water quality and quantity and mauri/life force of Te Waikoropupū Springs.

The Department received 17 public submissions on the draft management plan with five submitters speaking on their submissions before a hearings panel of board and Departmental representatives in Takaka in November.

The Department also worked with Manawhenua ki Mohua, the umbrella entity for the three Golden Bay iwi (Ngati Tama, Ngati Rarua and Te Atiawa), in developing the draft management plan in recognition of the manawhenua/customary authority status of the three iwi in relation to Te Waikoropupū Springs.

The Te Waikoropupū Springs Management Plan can be purchased from the Department’s Nelson office at 186 Bridge Street, Nelson, phone +64 3 546 9335 or email , and it can be found on the DOC website.

Background information on the natural, cultural and historic values of Te Waikoropupū Springs

  • Te Waikoropupū Springs have high ecological values. The springs are noted for the diversity and abundance of submerged mosses and liverworts that thrive in the cool water and stable spring environment. The springs also contain diversity in invertebrate species with more than 43 native invertebrate species recorded there, around half of which may only exist there.  A variety of fish species are found in the springs, including two threatened species, the giant kokopu and the long-fin eel.
  • Following European settlement in the area in the 1800s, Te Waikoropupū was claimed by the Crown but in 1857 land around the springs was transferred into private ownership. The land was bought in 1912 by Charles Campbell, who was in charge of the Pupū water-race and the Takaka Sluicing Company operations. His daughter, Miss Hilda Campbell, inherited the property and in recognition of the international value of the springs she sold an initial 9 hectares of land and Te Waikoropupū Springs to the Crown in 1979. The land was sold on the basis that the springs would be better cared for and preserved under the Crown managing it on behalf of the public. 
  • Gold prospectors began mining the land around Te Waikoropupū Springs in the 1860s and the area was worked extensively. Most of the lowland forest that originally covered the area around the springs was lost when cleared by gold miners. Evidence of the gold mining history of the area can be seen in the form of piles of rock tailings and tail races, dug to transfer water for sluicing purposes. The Takaka Sluicing Company worked a claim in the upper part of the Waikoropupū Valley until 1908.

back to top 


Trish Grant, Communications Advisor, phone: +64 3 546 3146

See also:

Te Waikoropupū Springs Management Plan

Visit Te Waikoropupū Springs

Back to top