Because of escalating power costs, Te Runanga o Ngāti Kearoa Ngati Tuara has turned to harnessing power from a river behind their marae just out of Rotorua, to generate their own power.
A dream that started in 2012 has become a reality for Ngati Kearoa Ngati Tuara descendents. Their marae at Kearoa, south west of Rotorua has become the first in Aotearoa New Zealand to generate their own power.
The micro-hydro unit, which has three turbines producing 2.5 kilowatts per hour, will be used to provide power to the marae, nearby iwi-owned trust farm and to grow vegetables in hydroponic glasshouses on the marae land, explained project manager Eugene Berryman-Kemp to Rotorua’s Weekender.
The unit has been so effective it has saved over $4000 a year in power bills. The three turbines can produce roughly 23,000 kw per year – this equates to slightly more than the marae’s current power consumption as well as the associated farm trust, with the excess being sold into the grid.
[quote_box_center]Potaiku Stream, and other nearby waterways, have been historically, spiritually and culturally significant to the iwi for more than 100 years, Eugene says.[/quote_box_center]
Ngati Kearoa Ngati Tuara is one of three iwi involved in the Te Arawa River Iwi Trust assigned to help restore the Waikato River, he says.
- For more info contact Eugene at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional reporting by Weekender journalist Mike Watson