Topic: Environment

Tūwharetoa collaborate with Contact Energy to open new geothermal power station

By Mere McLean

The opening of Te Mihi Uenukukopako geothermal power station is a project that has been made possible due to the combine work between Tūwharetoa and Contact Energy.  It also sets the scene of future business ventures on geothermal.

The geothermal power station is providing power for over 160,000 homes.

Te Mihi Uenukukopako carries the pioneering legacy of the Wairākei geothermal pools and for Māori Contact Director Whaimutu Dewes today sets the scene for the future generation. 

“We need to learn so our children can do this work, so in time they can run it,” says Whaimutu Dewes.

The station was officially opened by Bill English and it's a station that did not use any government funding. 

“This power station here is 166MW and that's enough for a 160,000 typical homes so a lot of power for a lot of people,” says Contact manager, Mike Dunstall.

What is truly unique about Te Mihi Uenukukopako is the fact that the local hapū Ngāti Rangita o Oruanui of Tūwheratoa plays a role in the overall use of the resource.

Topia Rameka (Tūwharetoa) says, “The local people are working with the company looking at how to look after the environment and the resource of the area.”

A carving has been erected to signify the joining between the kinship groups of this area and Contact, it will also sit as an example for the next generation to come.