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Manapōuri is a hydro station located in Fiordland National Park, South Island, New Zealand. 

It has seven 122 megawatt generating units, and an operating maximum station output of 800 megawatts. Manapōuri generates enough electricity each year for about 619,000 average New Zealand homes.

Manapōuri is the largest hydro station in New Zealand, and is located on the edge of Lake Manapōuri’s West Arm in the Fiordland National Park, which has World Heritage status.

The hydro station is located underground, with the station’s generating units housed in a cavern excavated from rock 200 metres below the surface of Lake Manapōuri.

 

Building Manapōuri

The original construction of the Manapōuri hydro station was a huge engineering achievement. The project took 1,800 workers eight years to complete in extremely harsh conditions. The project involved constructing the power station 200 metres below a granite mountain in an underground cavern.

Several access and service tunnels were built. The 10-kilometre tailrace tunnel was excavated to take the water that flows out of the station into Deep Cove in Doubtful Sound. All this was completed using drill and blast excavation methods to carve through the hard Fiordland rock.

Key dates

  • 1964
    Construction begins
  • 1972
    Manapōuri fully operational
  • 2002
    Second tailrace tunnel completed

    More information

    Discover Manapōuri (PDF 771KB)

  • More about building Manapouri

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