Why can't you buy a Fossicking Permit in NZ?

Thanks for stepping in, much appreciated. You legend!

Hey Mal - Nice bit of gold there. I think I remember that bit being pulled out.

Geez this thread went down hill pretty fast. @Lammerlaw and Sharkfin - Just ignore Gogold- He’s a provocateur thats hides behind anonymity, he gets off on people getting wound up and stirring the pot. Its pretty easy to see through and an easy position for the bloke to take and if you actually try and have an intellectual argument with him it lacks depth pretty fast.

I agree with you there are still a few claim owners around that if people ask permission to go for a prospect they will most likely say yes. I know its relying on the generosity of others but looks like its all we got.
Im still surprised at how many unclaimed creeks are out there with gold in them that people can on the down low go for a prospect.

Anyway im off and going to go check out what all this fuss is about with this Grindr


Geeeez…I missed it all. Damn. But , come on Lammerlaw, we all know there is no gold on your place. :wink: Just pretty little gold painted stones from your mate. :joy:

But they do look pretty good & convincing.

JW :cowboy_hat_face:

And there in lies the problem. I am a “Greenie”. You, by your own kneejerk reaction, have straight away setup a “them and us” argument. As I’m sure many people on this community are “Greenies”. Do we what to see our waterways degraded? NO! Do we want to see our native forests cut down? NO! Most of us only go out to fossick, not for the money, but because we enjoy the natural beauty that is New Zealand. I’m guessing that would make us “Greenies”. My argument is, that we as a community, come up with a proposal for a way to make it easier for us to go and fossick, while also having tougher penalties for those people who don’t do the right thing.

How about this for an example:

Fossicking License $200/year.

This allows you to fossick with landowners/permit holder permission.

By purchasing this license, you agree to strict terms and conditions.

If you don’t follow those strict terms and conditions, then you should be heavily fined. (And we should be willing to dob in those people who don’t do the right thing)

If you are selling your gold, then you should have to royalties to the crown for it, the same as anyone with a claim must do.

As for the fee, NZPAM should take their admin fee and the rest goes to DOC. I don’t know how many members there are on this forum, maybe one of the mods can do the maths. I’m guessing it would be a good chunk of cash going towards DOC.

Anyway, I would love to hear any further constructive thoughts on this subject. Please, no comments about gay porn.


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its a good idea but personally i would rather pay a fee to the landowner or permit holder and stuff DOC and nzpam.


Yeah would be great. They should at least allow anyone to prospect on their own land (or anyone they give permisson) its just stupid that you cant on your own land, yeah its fine DOC or even public land maybe not but your own land you are not aloud to shift a couple buckets of dirt around its just stupid and because its your own land you are not going to destroy it and anyone you give permisson you would ensure they didnt either, and if you do the only thing your damaging it your own land so where is the issue???

To be totally honest pretty much everyone will hand prospect on their own land if they want too and who is really going to stop them its their land anyway and who is going to walk up the river to say hey you are panning on your own land thats illegal.

I even know of cases where prospectors have went up to random landowners with a creek on their land got permisson and off they went fossicking like in AUS no issues what so ever.

So really its not that big of a deal but its so stupid that you cannot fossick on your own land something needs to be done about it in my opinion.

(sorry if this is controversal if it needs to be taken down it can just my thoughts )

Cheers -



Don’t think much of the idea of suggesting that a huge fine is solution. Gold does funny things to people. Nature does worse. We don’t pollute waterways, farming, forrestry do. Last as you stated previously. “What happens on the river stays on the river”
We kiwis aren’t narks
My views anyway


Not sure why we have to re-invent the wheel here? What is wrong with the current system?

If you want to mine go and get a mining permit simple- Its not a big cost in the general scheme of things and you can make your money back if your looking for a ROI if thats your cup of tea, or if its a hobby suck it up. Lets put this into perspective there are guys out there who love fishing who dump huge amounts of money into boats, rods, fishing gear etc and dont see a monetary return instead they get a return by way of the enjoyment factor. Gold mining for some is exactly the same. Decide what motivates you!

If you dont want to pay for a mining permit then go and use the public fossicking areas- Still lots of gold and a sense of community with that. Stop expecting a free ride, these areas were setup and paid for by our taxes- Pretty generous if you ask me

Failing all of that go and ask permission from a claim owner. I know many guys on this forum with claims that offer panners, sluicers etc to go and have a prospect no problems. Asking is not hard and you might be surprised at what you get in return .

The other point- The current system is designed with some lee way and that is if you know a little creek or own a property that has some gold on it and you go and prospect it and do some minimal impact activities then no one is going to stop you and to be honest the cost of policing this is uneconomic from the crowns perspective. I mean lets gets real here how many people do you know that have been prosecuted for panning or running a sluice on their own land? I for one have never heard of this happening and if it did its the exception rather than the rule. The nature of the current system allows this to a certain extent, thats why many guys with mining permits prospect a stream and then slap a claim on it.
The point being- The systems is designed with an inherent flexibility within it self and if you want to get serious about mining then it funnels you into going down the path of obtaining a permit for larger scale activities. If your wanting small scale bread and butter panning/sluicing then stop wasting your time on here moaning how hard it is with the current system etc. etc. and go and get some fresh air with your pan and shovel.

The current system allows the benefits you want without having to setup a separate system for a fossicking permit


I get what you are saying and yeah you can easily get away with it and not prosecuted but its just stupid that it is still Technically not aloud. And yeah its good there is leeway but its still technically not aloud just add a cheap permit and it solves it all the permit system right now is so difficult for smaller scale permits it costs the same to get a permit to Test pan as it does to do most dredging, they should add another permit tier that just grants your similar permits to fossicking areas but for a cheaper cost for example $200 for application and $50 a year to claim a 500M area of private owned creek. Its good they set up public areas but really sometimes its super inpractical and they are really there to keep people happy and have some defence when prospectors say its unfair (at least thats what I reckon), like it went from the goverment literally investing Millions to help miners to needing a miners right to being illegal to mine/prospect anywhere other then the fossicking areas. What if your on the north Island you are stuffed unless you want to attempt to invest $10000 that may get declined for a permit to pan in the corromandel or for example we have a batch at Charleston on the west coast and wanted to go gold prospecting in a literal Gold Rush town where there was gold in the local beach and creeks only to find I had to drive an hour to the nearest gold fossicking area if I wanted too “legally” prospect.

Its a fine system for Hobby hobbiest and its fine for bigger commercial entitys or larger dredging operations as they are not crippled by the massive claim fees and can make a good ROI like you said. But it is that kinda middle level people who are really into their prospecting who the system is hardest against its not stupid hard but it could be so much better, . And it would be good if you could actually go up to a private land owner and ask if you have permisson to prospect their creek without living in fear that its actually illegal and they say “hey thats illegal you sneaks” and then report you, it can have leeway but it also doesnt if you know what I mean, just actually add in leeway and let people prospect on their own land or any public land without conservation status is it really that hard for them to do that , it would make thousands of people have so much more fun and save time those people would make more gold which in turn then profits the country which then gives them more money to propley police the big stuff and overall causes less damage + they would make more money off the thousands of people buying a right rather then spending money on claims which they can then spend to police it all propley and save the enviroment even more then if they just left it, plus it would save so many people from driving long distances to get to the nearest fossicking area and that would decrease the emissions causing even less damage which most people care about these days.

Thats my thoughts


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Hey Goldsborough, you’re right, gold does funny things to people. And no, we don’t pollute the waterways, but there are people who don’t make good their workings and leave a mess behind. That is the argument against allowing us to have more freedom. But if we were not deemed as criminals for simply have a pan in a creek somewhere, maybe those people who would normally get their yellow stuff and do a runner, would hang around a bit longer and clean their workings up.

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Hi Prich, I’m not trying to re-invent the wheel (read the title of this topic. A question that no one seems to know the answer to.), that was done a while ago by the Government. As for the current system, well as @The_Sluicer has pointed out, there is a big step between fossicking at public areas and paying for a claim, no leeway in between, at least legally. Not all of us want to go out and break the law.

Your analogy with fishing doesn’t really make a lot of sense. Yes, people do spend a ton of money on boats and fishing gear. But they can always sell their boat and fishing on and recoup most of their money. But, yes, they are highly regulated and I have people get fined for not following the rules.

As for the public fossicking areas, most of these are on existing walking trails that were setup for tourists and paid for with our taxes. The fact that they then said, ok, you can fossick for gold, did not cost us taxpayers any extra. It’s not like they are adding the gold to the river. I’m expecting a “free ride”? How can someone wanting to pay an annual fee to go fossicking be considered as expecting a free ride?

And finally, as for coming on here and moaning, how are you going with your poachers on your claim? Maybe if there were more options for people to go fossicking, then they wouldn’t be stealing from your claim.

I appreciate your thoughts Prich, but I can’t agree with them.



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Thanks Dillon. You obviously know a lot more about this than I do and you have hit the nail on the head when it comes to pointing some of the things that I’m trying to put across. The thing that I can not understand is, why wouldn’t people like their own hobby to be more accessible to more people. But as @goldsborough stated above, gold does funny things to people.

Cheers bud,


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SharkFinGold, I think you best drop the idea. Your complaining about something that us kiwis constantly put up with. Our rights and privileges are slowly being eroded, through our apathetic lifestyles. I think it might be worse in your home country.

A miners right is an excellent idea, but this has been discussed dozens of times and nothing has come of it. It wears thin and eventually starts to sound like sour grapes…:face_with_hand_over_mouth:

A claim application costs ~ 2 ounces of gold. If you want one but can’t afford, find more gold!

Realistlcey It costs a heck of a lot more, if you are denied you lose your money it takes so much time and research to apply and normally you have to invest an additonal $1000+ in hiring someone to apply professinally for you, it then costs another $1000 a year if you want a 10 year application which increases it to about $15K for a 10 year claim, and then you also may have lcoal council resource consents and/or possibly if its on Doc land (you are even more likely to get denied then) an additonal massive fees - All in all a small hand prospecting claim will cost you a minimum of $15K and a lot of time more realistlcey closer to 16K and if there are additonal factors like doc or local council could be as much as 20-25 or even 30K, even if you get it as cheap as possible its still a 1/3rd of a typical NZ yearly wage that is insane for just a claim to have a chance of finding some better gold more locally at that middle level. And yeah you can earn a lot of gold and I would consider as pretty good at prospecting and finding solid deposits and very quick diggers if both of us work for the morning, even so it has been about 60 days worth of mining (this past year or so when we have been consistently getting 1/2gram and more recently 2-3-4-5 gram trips, not when we were begginers and barley pulling out a flake) in total for us about 20 trips and we have only just pulled out an ounce, and a lot of that is on good ground, so earning the money VIA mining at public areas is very very long and time consuming might as well just work at minimum wage, and as the figures stated above even if the claim is twice as good as public areas it will take you a lot of weekends to make back that huge figure.


Hey @The_Sluicer ,
thanks for you informed feedback. It does come down to a numbers game and not all of us want to sink our money into the unknown. It’s not cheap!

@goldsborough , I’m from the UK, where you can fossick anywhere with the landowners permission. I have spent 14 years in Victoria, Oz, where you can also fossick anywhere with a permit and the landowners/permit holders permission. At the end of the day, you will only lose your rights if you don’t stand up for them.

@madgoldnz Yes, people have been saying that this has been discussed many times. But, I get the feeling it’s been done by people who, for some unknown reason, consider themselves anti-greenie. This is about working will all stack-holders and coming up with a proposal that works for everyone. I get the feeling that previous attempts have, from the start, set up a fight between the said stake-holders.

Let’s throw another factor in,

There are many people who come to NZ to fish our beautiful rivers or to go and shoot some wild animals in our lovely mountains. As an overseas citizen, they pay a premium. Why can’t the same premium not be given for gold fossicking? Let’s say, $200 for one month of fossicking for a non resident. Come and pan in the Famous Otago Gold Fields or Visit the Yellow Speckled Rivers of the Beautiful West Coast. Imagine the boast the local economies. These people have to sleep and eat somewhere.

At the end of the day, if we can work with all shake-holders and come up with a proposal that brings a benefit to all involved, then maybe we can change things.




Great point!

Yeah I hate to brag here, but I look at what people consider a SUPER RICH CREEK in the US, or Scotland or europe or sometimes even Australia and just laugh ( no offence to them its great they are on good colour, but at their locations what they consider gold colour is often a lot less, although I have never prospected outside of a few pans in AUS and of course NZ so cant say much ) , when even some of our poorer creeks and worse areas beat them tenfold let alone the best spots, you could bring millions and millions into the economy for a proper prospecting thing like that I know people that already have come over just for the public areas let alone the people you would bring in for an intire beautiful country full of gold to explore.

My thoughts anyway-


[quote=“SharkFinGold, post:72, topic:6281”]
There are many people who come to NZ to fish our beautiful rivers.

There in lies the majority of the problem with sluice boxing, dredging & disturbing a river or creek bed. It is an outfit called Fish & Game. The fish that people fish for in our beautiful rivers are not even native to this country but introduced into our waterways at the cost to the little native fish that do/did live here. What do you think the Brown trout & Rainbow Trout eat??? Fish & Game are all to powerful & they are the ones that dredges have to challenge. People pay a fee for a trout fishing license. That money goes towards the hatching & breeding & releasing of these invasive river & creek scavengers at the detriment to the true little native fish. Fish & Game blame the dredgers for the disturbance of the river & creek beds to the demise of these little fish. Anybody who has dredged would know of the fish that come around when they are doing there thing. Of course most, if not all, are these released predictor fish.
So the Greens & Fish & Game are in bed together.

Personally I feel that dredging for gold to make a living is a thing of the past. The amount of gold needed to make a living are not there any more. At the best it is just a hobby & an excuse to get out there into mother nature. Any gold just a bonus.
I also don’t think you will get any where trying to negotiate with the powers to be. They will just screw you regardless but still take your money. That is not a defeatist attitude it is just how it is. Like it or lump it.
The best you can do to get a claim is to do what Prich said. That is how it is. Otherwise you do have the public fossicking areas that cost you nothing & you should be thankful to even have those in this day & age. Hell, you can even camp at a few of them. What more could you ask for?? :slightly_smiling_face:

JW :cowboy_hat_face:


I agree, but don’t go out there and get stuck into some ones claim without permission is my only qualifier to what pirch has said

Yeah, and most of those issues would be 95% resolved if people were aloud to prospect elsewhere without having to sneak onto someone elses claim to find a half decent spot (although tbh I dont know whats going through peoples minds who sneak onto claims they probably just want easy gold maybe it would not resolve it).