Project History

In the 1970s the then Tasman Electric Power Board (TEPB) identified the importance of the Lake Matiri site for hydro electricity generation and commenced planning for a scheme considerably larger than that proposed today. The proposed TEPB scheme was primarily intended for peak load management and would have generated significantly more electricity for shorter periods of time that the current proposal which essentially operates with the daily flow of the river.
In 1981 the TEPB were granted a water right by the West coast Catchment Board to operate their proposed scheme.

In 1996 the Kahurangi National Park was gazetted with lake Matiri excluded from the Park because of the previously declared interest in electricity generation. Lake Matiri is surrounded by national park and much of the land over which the penstock will traverse is conservation estate or marginal strip administered by the Department of Conservation.

In 2000 New Zealand Energy acquired from Network Tasman (previously TEPB) all rights to develop the proposed power scheme including a parcel of land in the upper Matiri valley on which the power house for the proposed scheme would be built.

In 2001 a Water Conservation Order (WCO) was gazetted for the Buller river and tributaries including lake Matiri and the Matiri river. The WCO provides specifically for development of the proposed hydro generation scheme while placing limits on lake level variation due to artificial control and ensuring fish passage for eels and koaro.

Now in 2006 New Zealand Energy are seeking a concession from DOC to develop and operate part of the power scheme on DOC land, and are seeking resource consent from the Tasman District Council to undertake activities associated with construction of the scheme, along with renewal of the water right for the purpose of taking water for power generation.