Trust House Ltd is marking 100 years since the opening of the Kourarau Hydroelectric Power Scheme by hosting an on-site celebration tomorrow.
Kourarau, which can be accessed via Te Wharau Rd in Carterton, officially opened on December 20, 1923.
Chief executive John Prendergast said it was the first publicly owned electricity generation scheme in Wairarapa, with work beginning in 1920 when Wairarapa Electricity Power Board was established to build the infrastructure needed to bring electricity to the homes and businesses in the region.
“Prominent Wairarapa settlers and farmers Sir Walter Buchanan and William Beetham made land available for construction of the scheme, and distinguished engineer Harry Climie did the design – Climie was responsible for several electricity reticulation and hydroelectric schemes throughout New Zealand,” Prendergast said.
The scheme contains two power stations, which Prendergast said still operate today on the original machinery.
Station A [the lower station] was completed and opened in 1923, and Station B [the upper station] opened two years later.
In 1999, Genesis Energy Ltd acquired the stations, and then in 2011, Trust House Ltd purchased the scheme, which it continues to own and operate.
The scheme generates around 1 megawatt of electricity, sufficient to power approximately 400 houses.
“The scheme today is automated and so operates without on-site staff; however, over the years of the scheme’s existence, a number of staff have worked at the stations.”
Meanwhile, Trust House Ltd is encouraging any past members of the scheme to get in touch if they wish to take part in the afternoon tea on site on December 20, 2023, to mark the 100th anniversary by calling 06 370 0520.
The Kourarau Power Stations are open to the public and can be accessed via Te Wharau Rd, Carterton.