Michael Phelps and his father Fred bought a 100 hectare bush clad property near Hokitika in 1988.
They dug a 700 metre long pit out of a steep terrace and extracted gold bearing ground that was processed onsite. Much of the pit has now been backfilled.
The land had been extensively mined in the 19th century and Michael has discovered tunnels crisscrossing under the ground and many relics from the gold rush era.
The mining proved successful for Michael, but now he has decided to protect the remaining native forest on his land from future mining ventures by putting it into covenants.