This photograph of a gold extraction plant at Paeroa, taken around 1910, shows the water pollution that resulted from the processing of gold. Quartz rock was pounded to a fine grit and a solution of cyanide was passed through this to extract the gold. The waste sand and chemicals were then discharged directly into waterways. Rivers, once an important source of food for Māori, became sludge channels.
Using this item
Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.