It's said Te Waikoropupū Springs contains the purest and cleanest water in the world.

But the local iwi fears the pristine nature could be at risk.

John Ward-Holmes of Ngāti Tama ki Te Waipounamu is encouraging the nation to support its bid to stop water extraction from the springs for bottling and irrigation purposes.  

“To ensure that it's not polluted in any way and the quality, the purity stays the same as it has been forever.”

This local kaumātua and the wider people of Ngāti Tama ki Te Waipounamu including Margaret Little are fearful that it could be damaged because of proposals to bottle water, mine the area and irrigate the land as well.

“If you think of this space and you have glass bottom boats, divers lots of divers in here, commercial diving, gold mining, a big restaurant next door, a 120 seater restaurants and a commercial take for water which we are also fighting in the courts so it would just be ruined in my opinion.”

At the moment Te Waikoropupū remains under wāhi tapu protection by local iwi and DOC.

However, Ward-Holmes says the damage could happen to the source of the spring if proposals are to go through.

“As we know this water is 10-years-old when it comes to the surface here. By the time we find out that there’s something is going wrong the damage is done.”

Other than the waters in Antarctica, Te Waikoropupū is said to contain the purest and cleanest waters in the world but the iwi is fearful that could change.

Little is urging the public to support their submission to gain Water Conservation Order Protection for the spring and the land that surrounds it.

“It’s a joint effort it’s not just Ngāti Tama, it’s not just Andrew Yuill. I see it as something that the whole of NZ with the emphasis on the fresh clean water that we need to step up and we need to be part of it and to help protect it for the future generations.

In exactly one week submissions will close with a special hearing to be held in April.

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