Gold Panning

The Otago Goldfields Heritage Trust (OGHT) manages the annual New Zealand National Gold Panning Championships.  Gold Panning is a well recognised sport, and is one of the few sports where men, women and children can compete in the same category.

New Zealand’s annual gold panning events are held in Central Otago and a future world gold panning event is scheduled to be hosted in this region in 2026.

National Gold Panning

New to Gold Panning sports? Basically you will be racing everyone else in your heat to be the first to retrieve all 5-12 flakes of gold that have been pre-counted and added to your bucket of gravel.

Win your heat and move onto the next round. The overall winner will receive  $1000 to go towards travel overseas to compete  in another country’s Gold Panning Championships. There are many other prizes on offer for the category winners.


Championship Categories 

  • Open: Ladies, Men’s, and Veteran (over 60 yrs).  Competitors must bring their own regulation-conforming pan.
  • New Zealand Classic: Open to anyone. Competitors must use our ‘traditional’ pans.

Non Championship Categories

  • Children Under 13
  • Have-A-Go: First timers and beginners only.
  • Team Event: 3 people per team, any age, male or female.

Click here for 2022 results

In the past, the open champion getting $1000 towards her trip to compete in Australia was Queenstown teenager Amelia Gatward-Ferguson. See here for the full story.

International Gold Panning

The OGHT has been accepted as a member of the World Gold Panning Association, joining countries from around the world who enjoy this international sport.

An international gold panning event is held annually and the OGHT is delighted to be hosting the 2026 event. Details of this prestigious event will be shared here in due course.

Some of our own committee members have been world champs! 

Want to know more? Post a question below or contact us directly. Click here to download the official rules.

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Physical address: The Otago Goldfields Heritage Trust
Cnr of Erris and Donegal Streets, Cromwell, Central Otago

PO Box 91 Cromwell 9342

Phone: (03) 445-0111

Email, please click here

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