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Marlborough panning options for newbie

Hey Pillie76…good job contacting DOC…I have often thought that if we had enough support we could lobby for the addition of more public fossicking areas…some near nelson …even one in the north island(corro).
Be interesting to see Doc’s response.
cheers Mal

Cheers Mal, nothing to lose right? I got a quick response from someone saying they had forwarded my email on to the right person and they would be in touch

Below is the email I sent.

To whom it may concern,

This email is regarding the gold fossicking locations set aside by the Department of Conservation freely available to the public. I did visit the Renwick office and the staff were very helpful but suggested as the below mentions Wakamarina, I email the Picton office.

I am writing to propose adding a gold fossicking location in Marlborough. Currently there are 17 locations around the South Island, with the closest to Marlborough being at least two hours away. With input of other fossickers around the South Island also with lack of fossicking locations, I’m certain other locations would most definitely be suggested

I have attached a South Island map for your reference showing the approximate locations of the public fossicking sites DOC have made available. The circles from these locations show a radius of 100km to give you an idea how far explorers would need to travel to have access to these areas.

My proposal would be an area up or near the Wakamarina River. There is a long history of gold being found in the Wakamarina dating back to the 1860’s, with there being many private claims that take up much of the river currently. The rules around a new area would be the same as the others, only panning and sluice boxing, with no motorized methods allowed to help conserve the waterways. I have attached some areas for consideration (highlighted in yellow. In red are existing private claims). I was told that there used to be a public area in the Wakamarina 10+ years ago but I can’t find anything online regarding this or why it stopped?

Introducing more areas to what is already available will give more New Zealanders access to the wonderful backyard of our country while still setting boundaries on how we do so, as well as reducing the unlawful mining of gold by some. These areas are not to make money from but rather, to enjoy and explore as many do hunting, fishing and tramping on DOC land.

I would be more than happy to discuss this more with you at your convenience.

Kind regards
Nigel Pilcher
Rock and Mineral Club member
Paydirt community member
Kiwi Explorer


I might add I’m already way over my head going to DOC as I’ve had zero experience in gold fossicking!!


you did well nigel. took months for me to get a reply from wellington about costs and hassles involved in getting claims and I suggested reverting to the old system of buying a license to pan/sluice in unclaimed areas with appropriate restrictions where needed.

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A license would be a great idea. Shame that didn’t come to anything

its all about $$$$$$ now. they cant be bothered with getting small amounts in the coffers when for less work to them they can screw claim owners and businesses and make heaps. that plus those drop kick loser greenies don’t like you turning a piece of shingle over because you might disturb a bug and the world could come to an end.

I hear ya mate and that’s a real shame it’s gone that way. From experience “most” people that have interest in fossicking, or just enjoying the land tramping and hunting, tend to take very good care and show respect for it. There is always going to be cowboys but that’s the same with anything, right.

Like your work pillie76.


hay we stay ther all time sum time we do

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Here’s the reply from DOC. I did think the places I listed were part of DOC land but I misread the map. Still plenty of locations. I’ll look at the map correct this time then try MBIE and see whats said…

After an email to and a quick response by phone call from MBIE, I’ve sent them a few some screenshots of areas of interest on DOC land for them to look over

I also rung the Pinedale Camp Ground and they allow day trips for $5 which is great. Thank you for the tip there. Looks like I’ll be getting my pan wet soon enough at least!

May be I start the ball rolling for the NI

The response time from DOC and MBIE have been very good. I am hoping to hear back from MBIE again today with it’s doable in the locations I suggested. The kick in the balls might be the cost, if any. I’m really hoping for even just one addition to the public fossicking list

Use two maps to look for locations Tom. One map from LINZ website to show where the conservation land is and the the Permits map from here to see what already has a claim then see what you can come up with

Yep will see if it’d do able

An excellent map…well done.