This cross-section of Tākaka Hill and the Tākaka valley shows how water gets to Waikoropupū Springs, popularly known as Pupu Springs, New Zealand’s largest freshwater spring. Rainfall on the uplands of Tākaka Hill and the Canaan Downs finds its way through many subterranean streams. Some water re-emerges and flows down The Gorge Creek and into the Tākaka River. Most of the flow emerging at the springs seems to come from underground leakage of the Tākaka River into a huge aquifer, some 16–18 kilometres inland. It is estimated that water takes three to four years to flow through the system.
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Source: Paul Williams, ‘Karst in New Zealand.’ In Landforms of New Zealand, edited by J. M. Soons and M. J. Selby. Auckland: Longman Paul, 1982, p. 206.