Designed and manufactured in New Zealand – a land of water

Water is in our blood

Allow us to introduce ourselves as the people at the helm of Phathom:
Geoff Letcher (Director) and Emma Letcher (Sales Manager). We’ve spent a lifetime in and around the water, sailing, fishing, and surfing. You could almost say it’s our home away from home. That’s a common story for many New Zealanders—with 425,000 kilometres of rivers and streams, over 15,000 kilometres of coastline, and 775 lakes covering 1.3 percent of our land area, New Zealand is a land of water, as beautiful and challenging as you’ll find anywhere. So like a lot of people, we were deeply concerned when we heard media reports of sediment damage in some of New Zealand’s magnificent aquatic environments. Sediment can scour fish gills, disrupt migration patterns, and smother shellfish beds, taking a terrible toll on natural habitats. We started thinking about how we could use the innovative technology we already owned to help protect our water.

highway and city with bright lights

Innovation is in our DNA

New Zealand has a long history of innovation and technology development, and Phathom’s ratio-metric multi-beam technology is part of this proud tradition.

This technology was first developed in the 1990s to measure TSS and turbidity for the dairy industry, and it was so successful that a new company, Quadbeam Technologies, was formed. Geoff took over the company in 2009, and from these beginnings in dairy, sensors were developed for the needs of other food and beverage industries and for the mining industry.

Proven over 20 years, used by the best

Over more than 20 years, the sensors have kept on keeping on, standing up to the pressure of water hammer in industrial applications and the harsh abrasion of the mines, and Quadbeam kept innovating, developing and improving them. The sensors are now used by many of the world’s leading dairy and mining companies, like Fonterra, Danone, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), Lactalis, Rio Tinto, and BHP.

highway and city with bright lights
highway and city with bright lights

Applying our innovation to water

As more reports of sediment damage came in, we decided to act, and we developed the ratio-metric multi-beam technology for water monitoring too. The result is the Phathom range of sensors, designed to help protect the environment at the optimal cost to businesses.

Our team’s grown over the years, and our commitment hasn’t changed: harnessing the power of innovation to be a force for good, in New Zealand and around the world.

Homai te waiora ki au
I raru ai au i te po te po
Ka awatea!

Give me life’s living waters
In the darkness of uncertainty I grope
Now, ‘tis dawn, ‘tis the break of a new day!

Wai / Water

Our love of the water resonates with the perspective of New Zealand’s indigenous Māori people. We invited respected Māori kaumatua (elder), Dr Haare Williams of Ngāi Tūhoe and Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki, to explain this view of water and its interconnection with all living things.

“Wai Ora, living waters without contaminants, is water containing the ‘living spirit’ that restores and sustains life. The Māori perspective is different but relevant in today’s endless uncertainties. Water is viewed through a Māori prism as ‘The spiritual substance of Papatuanuku [earth, land, soil, placenta, birth, rebirth].’ Wai Ora is the purest form with the propensity to create and nurture life, to counter evil and therefore sustain wellbeing.

Whakapapa [genealogy] connects Māori to all things created which includes features like mountains, rivers and trees. Whakapapa is a unifying philosophy in all Māori tribal history. It accounts for all things in the universe from the beginning of time. We learn that the ancestral landscape has a continuous, natural and spiritual connection with features like water catchment, forests, bush, marshlands, as well to physical formations of valleys, estuaries, and sites like kainga, waahi mahinga kai, parekura, ara, paparahi, waahi tapu, [habitations, gardens, pathways, sacred places] and with people who live on the land (ahi kaa). This is the cultural landscape.
Kaitiakitanga is the law of reciprocity which means that a user of a resource like a fishing ground is simultaneously a ‘guardian’ to protect the resource. Maui, a cultural hero, demonstrated the distaste for greed, waste and gluttony. Tikanga, tapu and noa [protocols] ensure the protection of all things of value, a balanced use of natural resources where users are obligated to think and listen to the heartbeat of Papatuanuku, Moana [the sea] and Ngahere [the forest]. Listening might just be the new language of hope, wellness and peace.”

At Phathom, we aspire to be guardians of the natural world, and to partner with others by creating tools to promote the balanced use of natural resources.