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Ōhau A hydro station

Ōhau A is a hydro station located in the Mackenzie Basin, South Canterbury. It has four 66-megawatt generating units, and a generation output of up to 264 megawatts.

The station generates enough electricity for about 144,000 average New Zealand homes. The Ōhau A power station is located at the end of the manmade Pūkaki canal. The Pūkaki canal joins the Ōhau canal to meet the water flows from Lake Ōhau and Lake Pūkaki.

Building Ōhau A

Ōhau A was the third station built as part of the Upper Waitaki hydro scheme, which consists of Meridian’s three Ōhau stations and Genesis’s two Tekapo stations. Construction of the scheme began in 1968, when Twizel township was established.

As well as these stations, the Upper Waitaki scheme features two dams and six canals running a total of 56 kilometres.

During the construction of Ōhau A, approximately two million cubic metres of rock and gravel was excavated from the northern bank of the Ōhau River. That’s about half a million concrete truck loads.

Another half a million cubic metres of rock and gravel was removed for the tailrace – the tunnel that channels the water out of the station.

During the building of Ōhau A, Max Smith, the locally based project engineer of the Upper Waitaki Power Project, came up with the idea of creating a rowing course in Lake Ruataniwha.

Work went ahead on the course – and it’s now a national venue for rowing.

Key dates

  • 1971 – Construction begins

  • 1979 – Ōhau A fully operational

Meridian Power Up community fund

Our Power Up community fund supports local projects in the areas where we operate. It’s one of the ways in which we recognise the importance of local communities to our operations.

If you’re based near a Meridian hydro station and have a project you’d like help with, apply now!

Power Up community fund

Tackling Zero

Tackling Zero is Meridian’s quarterly newsletter for people whose roles or studies are focused on sustainability, or for whom this is an area of interest. Each issue will offer Meridian’s insights into a topical sustainability issue, as well as stories on how we, our customers and supply chain partners are tackling sustainability. It also includes links to recent Meridian disclosures such as new policies and reports.