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Waitaki hydro station

Waitaki is a hydro station located in the Waitaki Valley. It has seven 15-megawatt generating units and a total generation output of up to 105 megawatts.

Waitaki generates enough electricity for about 51,000 average New Zealand homes. 

It was constructed with manual labour as a ‘make work’ project during the depression of the 1930s, and since then has undergone a number of improvements.

Building Waitaki

The Waitaki power station was the last to be constructed in New Zealand without modern mechanical equipment. Over half a million cubic metres of material was excavated, almost entirely by pick and shovel.

It is a concrete arch dam with no spillway, but it’s designed to allow water to flow over the top if it floods.

The hydro station started generating electricity in 1935, with two 15-megawatt generators operating – enough to meet almost half of the South Island’s electricity needs at that time.

Three more generators were installed between 1940 and 1949, bringing the generation capacity up to 75 megawatts.

The remaining two units were constructed between 1952 and 1954. The whole power house was extended and a new inlet and outlet channel constructed to accommodate them.

Meridian Power Up community fund

Our Power Up community fund supports local projects in the areas where we have generation assets. 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 or wind farm 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.