National aquifer mapping to improve Far North groundwater knowledge

Media Release

19 October 2022

We are helping the Far North build a better picture of their groundwater through an aerial electromagnetic survey of the Aupōuri aquifer

The first flight was last week - with GNS Scientists Rogier Westerhoff, Thomas Brakenrig and Maiwenn Herpe, gathering with Northland Regional Council's Susie Osbaldiston and the community to see it off.

The Aupōuri aquifer is an area of natural underground water storage where water flows into, through rocks, sediment and shell beds. This part of the study involves a helicopter flying over the Aupōuri Peninsula, north of Kaitaia, and combining this with data from groundwater bores, to help us understand what is under the ground.

A helicopter carrying the SkyTEM technology. The technology on the loop can ‘scan’ down to about 300 metres deep underground.

It will take time for GNS scientists to interpret and analyse the raw data, but the ultimate aim is to provide the information in a useful format for councils, mana whenua and the community.

This mapping is part of a much larger effort by GNS Science to map and characterise New Zealand’s aquifers, which will allow GNS Science to create advanced hydrogeological.

maps, methods and models to support sustainable and economic use of Aotearoa New Zealand’s groundwater resources.

Northland Regional Council's Susie Osbaldiston and GNS Science's Rogier Westerhoff looking at the loop on the ground before launch

The project idea came from the Te Hiku community and is overseen by the study project team, representing iwi, the community, landowners and councils.

The surveying is predominantly funded by Aqua Intel Aotearoa (AIA), a collaboration between Kānoa (the delivery arm of the Provincial Growth Fund) and GNS Science.

Learn more about GNS' work with groundwater.

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