Dam construction began in 1959 and the first power was generated at midnight on 16 April 1962.

Kuratau power station is one of four dams located in King Country which are owned and operated by KCE, including Piriaka, Mokauiti and Wairere. KCE also owns the Mangahao plant near Shannon in the Manawatu.

Meanwhile, a five-month trap and transfer trial designed to boost native fish populations at Turitea dams has got underway in North island’s Manawatu-Wanganui region.

The trial is a joint initiative between Horizons Regional Council and Palmerston North City Council. Horizons environmental scientist Logan Brown said: ‘At the moment the dams provide a barrier to native fish migration but at the same time the Turitea dams are vital as they provide drinking water for Palmerston North.’

Designed by scientist Jacques Boubee, the trap consists of a 150 litre holding tank and access ramp positioned on a simple wooden platform just out of the flood zone at the base of the dams. It requires a constant supply of raw water to operate and is expected to attract short fin and long fin eels, kokapu and koaro, among other native fish. The trap was installed at the start of November and the trial will run through until the end of March 2013.

Palmerston North City Council water asset engineer Dora Luo says she is pleased to see so many groups working together on the project which is one of the conditions Palmerston North City Council complies with as a part of the Turitea surface water take consent.

The trap will be checked at least once per week throughout the five-month trial and, if successful, may become a more permanent fixture.