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Ohakuri Dam
Ohakuri Dam.jpg
Ohakuri dam and powerhouse from the north.
Ohakuri Dam is located in New Zealand
Ohakuri Dam
Location of Ohakuri Dam in New Zealand
Country New Zealand
Location Between Taupo, Rotorua, and Hamilton
Coordinates 38°24′30″S 176°5′22″E / 38.40833°S 176.08944°E / -38.40833; 176.08944
Purpose Power
Status Operational
Opening date 1961
Owner(s) Mercury Energy
Dam and spillways
Type of dam earth dam with concrete gravity sections for the intake and spillway structures
Impounds Waikato River
Creates Lake Ohakuri
Surface area 12 km2 (4.6 sq mi)
Power station
Name Ohakuri Power Station
Operator(s) Mercury Energy
Turbines 4× 28 MW Francis turbine
Installed capacity 112 MW (150,000 hp)

Ohakuri is a dam and hydroelectric power station on the Waikato River, central North Island, New Zealand, midway between Taupo, Rotorua and Hamilton. Its dam is about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) upstream of the Atiamuri Dam.

It was commissioned in 1961 and construction was organised from the 'hydro town' of Mangakino. The dam eventually created Lake Ohakuri, the largest artificial lake on the Waikato, which drowned two thirds of the Orakei Korako geothermal area as well as hot springs and wahi tapu (Māori sacred sites) at Te Ohaaki. Creation of the dam forced Ngāti Tahu to relocate their Ohaaki Marae. The submerged area also included two of the world's largest geysers (Minginui Geyser and Orakei Korako Geyser).

The construction in the face of these negative effects was considered justified at the time due to the serious electricity shortages plaguing the country after World War II, and by the fact that laws requiring public participation or consultation were not introduced until much later. While compensation to Māori land owners was paid based on the land take rules of the Public Works Act, the damage to the inhabitants of the area was to form basis of further legal actions under the Waitangi Tribunal legislation many years later.

Power station

The Ohakuri Power Station has a capacity of 112 megawatts (150,000 hp) and is operated by Mercury Energy.


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