Threat to Matakitaki

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Network Tasman has bought land and is looking at the possibility of hydro generation on the Matakitaki at Murchison.

digby's picture

it does seam extrordinary that one of most popular and varied rivers in nz is subject to a hydro electric proposal. especially as it would obviously seriously effect murchisons tourism buisnesses and community. what can we do to cut off these preposals?

russell.frost's picture

I wonder what the people of Murchison, the Buller Gorge and Westport would like to think of a great wall of water rushing at them next time the big one hits. Some scientist put the Murch EQ. of 1929 at 8.1 on the Richter scale.

If Network Tasman are going to sell the scheme with the renewable energy green tag (at the expense of major environmental degradation and permanent modification (destruction!)), then the fear of big Wednesday might be some good counter propaganda.

Even if a proposed Dam held, what is to stop all of the steep sided sedimentary mountainsides tumbling in and forcing all the water out?

Who are these greedy people?
Do they think they might swing it with the usual trade off of a few picnic benches, some lovely exotic plantings, a switch you can flick for a spot of kayaking once a day, possibly something built in the town for the community (oh and don't forget the brass plaque with the corrupt councillors name that approved and opened the scheme, mounted on one of those nice white Matakitaki conglomerate boulders at the entrance to the scheme).
Better put a token gesture fish ladder somewhere too, I know, they could stock the dam with trout for those fishing guides that have used and appreciated the wilderness qualities of this river for the past 30 years or so too........everything will be perfect.

How will they ensure the downward migration of long finned eels and keep the Tangata Whenua happy? I suppose they this all worked out too – another backhander??

Old school vandals with rose tinted spectacles, who should be very ashamed at their utter greed, lack of morals and pig headedness.
Find some more dairy farms to convert or build another swimming pool in Richmond or something!

Keep your hands off what doesn't belong to you!

ali's picture

There is a very steep section up the top of one of the branches..cant remember which, but I know Don from UD has bugged it, I think Mick may have done it in a hardshell back in the freefall days....

jonathan's picture

Doh, I was talking about the Matiri... for the Matakitaki, the two proposed locations are at Blue Rock and Mammoth Flat. See the KML file at
Blue Rock will definitely interfere with the Middle Matakitaki. I don't have pictures though.


jonathan's picture

I don't have a photo for you, but I will email you a GoogleEarth file (and add it to this site shortly). The map reference is M29 538474 or 41°40'41.88"S 172°19'30.55"E. The project plans a series of weirs at the lake outlet and a 2km penstock down to a powerhouse at the confluence of the East and West branches. This is above the normally paddled section.


duncan's picture

As far as we know, the idea is for a reservoir upstream of the Horse Terrace Bridge, to control flow down maybe 3 run-of-river schemes downstream.

From the map, I would thought the obvious place for a dam would be at Mammoth Flat beside trig 3293. There's is a road pretty much there and about a 40m high, narrow gorge to build a dam in with major storage area upstream. See Google Earth for pic.

We have been told the Lower Matakitaki is not under consideration, but the Middle Matakitaki section is a definite target for one of the ROR dam + canal + powerhouses. Not good.

We will be meeting the chairman of Network Tasman soon to find out more.

Tony Ward-Holmes
Conservation Officer

tony.haddon's picture

Can anyone send me a digital photo of damsite please ?

tony.haddon's picture

Does anyone have a digi photo of proposed dam site/area they could send me please ?

rj's picture


rj's picture

Are they insane? If this isn't one of the most kayaked runs in the Southern Hemisphere it wouldn't be far off. They are proposing siting the Dam just below the swingbridge, near the end of the run.

I'm not that thrilled about Site 1 of 2 either, but removing the Middle Matakitaki is just mind boggling. Who the hell do these people think they are?

andy3's picture

Mammoth flat. Not certain where that is.

rj's picture

Where is this land they bought?

louise.pawson's picture

The Matakitaki runs are used by all level paddlers and should be protected. If by any chance we are unable to prevent Tasman destroying such an asset in the area not only for the locals but for the universities/tourist and the knock on effect on the local business then we should be consulting for a release programme like the wairoa with guaranteed flow levels and regular releases all yr round in particular the summer. The mid section is used as a great warm up for those paddling at a higher level and it is a great entry / intermediate run, let a lone the beauty of it. The lower is a great short technical run..loosing such a river in the area, in my opinion would have a significant impact on the kayak scene in murchison and local revenue.