Identifying Claimable Areas

Hello all, first time poster, relatively long time reader of this website/forum.

Having done the public fossicking thing for a while and seeing Gavin’s claim for sale, I’ve been prompted to try and find an area to claim myself.

But I have no idea on how to confirm if an area is unclaimed and eligible.

I have the following questions to ask you all:

• With reference to the pic below - Is any area not highlighted in red and not public fossicking zone able to be claimed/permit applied for?

• Can you go to these unclaimed areas and test/pan for gold to support your claim? Or do you have get a claim before you can even test?

Any informative information is much appreciated.



The default view of that gold permits map is “Gold Mining Permits”, there’s also other claims like prospecting claims that need to be worked around if looking to claim an area.

The map gold claim data is sourced from NZPAM, the original being available at - - which has much more detail if you need it.

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Ahh thanks for pointing that out!

So with same area considered using the parent map source - All areas in white/faint green are not claimed atm?

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I’ve not used the NZPAM map much myself, but it should have a legend somewhere to help you identify what is what.

Any area that isn’t blue, green, red or shaded with lines is open ground

All the area in the centre for example is open ground

You can also change the basemap so you have a topo map

Thanks mate. Seems there is plenty of area
open and claimable. I guess it comes down to access across land being prohibitive or denied. Or time has told and proven no gold is there.

Who knows, I’m to new to have an educated guess.

What do you call an educated guess? Best & only way is to test pan &/or snipe to see if any gold is present. Otherwise you are just pissing in the wind & wasting time, effort & money.

JW :cowboy_hat_face:

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Talking of pissing in the wind… I notice that the claim that was put on Griffin Creek shortly after the location was mentioned here on the forums has now gone. I wonder if that was actually gold producing, or was just based on the forum tip.

I’ve been up there and a mate only found a few tiny specks of flour gold while testing with his pan. Though there are stories of good gold being found up there near the hut.

Hmmmm, spend $30 000 + to claim a creek and get $10 000 worth of gold? Don’t you have to prove to nzpm that it’s viable yield?

Talking to a retired claims consultant recently and he reckons for small dredging operations just get in and do it illegally, ultimately it costs less!

I am not saying that is good advice. Also a lot of west coast creeks were suction dredged in early 1980s boom. So finding something worthwhile that satisfies nzpm may be harder than first appearance. Most of easy stuff is gone. Good spots most people know are remote as heck. Good luck you might find a unicorn .


NZPAM just want to know about the geology that determines why the gold is in the claim area. A bit frustrating when you need to engage a geologist to make an application when you already know gold is in the area and there’s evidence of it being mined historically.

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Ah ok thanks. They don’t make it easy do they.

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Classic…I saw that permit appear weeks after that chat on here.

Anyone thats walked up there will know its a mission and a half!
Great hut thou

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Yep remember it vividly… might be worth another walk… tomorrow’s weathers looking good… hmmmmm

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So can go up and test an area before you put a claim in? It’s not illegal?

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Probably a grey area but how else can you prove or disprove the presents of gold? Just do it so you know one way or the other. What real harm is that going to do? The powers to be are just not particle in the laws they dream up. It is all about control & making money out of hard working people who want to have a life & enjoy the out doors away from their usual grind. Eroding our “rights” all the time until we have nothing left. :rage: :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

JW :cowboy_hat_face:


I am pretty certain you are ok to test pan as part of a “minimum impact activity” without the need for any type of permit.
This you kinda need to state as part of any applications that you have undertaken to determine the ore body.


@Westlander nzpam have been near impossible to work with for a few years now, but hopefully that will change soon.

The step after been granted the permit is even worse when you deal with the iwi and local council.

Your mate is right in what he said, it is easier to do it illegally but when you find some ok ground you want to work it’s best to secure it.