Through the forests of Takaka flow an abundance of waters, all underground, making their way towards the sea and carrying with them the energy of life. Yet, in one small area of the forest the waters bubble up into beautiful springs, creating an aquatic wonderland. These are te Waikoropupū Springs.
The waters of these springs are so very clear, that visibility can be measured at up to sixty-three metres, making this some of the clearest water in the world. Looking down into the springs, one can see all kinds of grasses, seemingly close enough to reach out and touch. However, these plants are actually bobbing about six metres below the crystal clear surface.
Dive down into the springs, and you would find an underwater forest: long tendrils of red grasses, golden aquatic pillow weeds, pasture weeds and forest mosses swaying in the moving waters, delicately framed by rays of light, which perfectly reflect the whole scene onto the roof of the springs above.
If you swam a little further through the forest, you would find the Dancing Sands, where over 14,000 litres of water rise from the dunes of the floor every second, creating small vents where the sand seems to shimmer in the water.
In such a beautiful place, with its impossibly clear water and dancing sands, it is easy to feel the magic of the earth. The local Māori people have long known that te Waikoropupū Springs are home to a female taniwha, a water spirit, who is both brave and wise. For this reason, the springs have been called waahi tapu - a sacred place - and they are used for healing, and ceremonial purposes.
The magic of the place is very visible, if one looks closely... Each visitor seems reverent of the springs' beauty, and in some sections, people have woven flax fronds into beautiful shapes as a kind of gift to the area.
In such special places, I try not to disturb the delicate balances of ecology and spirituality by swimming without permission. Instead, it feels simply wonderful to pick up on the pure energies of life flowing through the area, and to feel a sense of gratitude for the miracle of H2O... water.
Further down from the springs lies the sea, only four-hundred metres away. Here, the sacred spring waters meet those of the vast ocean...