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Set in Stone: Trust Deed signed

Updated: Jul 25, 2019

A story 35 million years in the making, featuring volcanos, moa and 2 metre-tall penguins had its latest instalment inscribed by human hand on Monday, August 13, 2018, when the Waitaki Whitestone Geopark Trust Deed was signed by Ngāi Tahu representative David Higgins, Mayor for Waitaki District Gary Kircher, and Vanished World Incorporated’s Mike Gray as the first three of a potential seven trustees.


The Waitaki Valley was once a sea teeming with marvellous beasts such as shark-toothed dolphins, who swam in large shallow bays until a ripe old age, and when they died, fell to the sea floor and became the creamy limestone of Ōamaru fame. Because of its superbly unique geological heritage, the Waitaki District is home to many sites of international significance and now desiring to become part of the network of UNESCO Global Geoparks.


When the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO commissioners and members of the Commission’s Expert Advisory Panel visited Ōamaru to tour the Waitaki Whitestone Geopark and witnessed the signing of the trust deed into official record on Monday 13th August at the Ōamaru Opera House, this goal moved ever closer.

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"What a fantastic window into the past. Today we saw fossil bones in limestone at two different sites. One set were whale bones. Just awesome that this trail has been put together, maintained and promoted."

— Mark Shipman, 

Vanished World visitor

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