"A team of international cave divers is celebrating after setting an Australasian record by diving to a depth of 177 metres in the Pearse Resurgence near Mount Arthur.
Dave Apperley, of Sydney, said one of the team's divers reached the record depth last week after spending 10 days diving in the system about 22km south-west of Motueka.
It was the seventh time Apperley had dived in the Pearse Resurgence and he was thrilled the group had surpassed the record of 125m below ground level he had set in the Pearse in 2003.
Apperley said diving in the Pearse system was fantastic because the caves were so large it was not claustrophobic.
It took Rick Stanton, of England, about 20 minutes to get down to 170m, but the ascent took six hours because it had to be done slowly to allow for decompression.
John Atkinson, of Christchurch, and Richard Harris and Craig Howell, from Australia, were the other divers in the team.
Oz Patterson, of Nelson, provided logistical support."