Topic: Power in the Rotorua District

Topic type:

The early history of electricity generation in the Rotorua District

  Formwork for Okere Power Station 1925

Electricity from batteries was in use at least as early as 1887, according to D M Stafford in Rotorua Electricity : a ´╗┐brief history of power in the Rotorus District.

But soon after 1896 the government announced it's intention to establish an electrical works reserve at Okere Falls. The plant did not come into operation until May 1901 - just in time for the visit of the Duke and Duchess of York  anticipated to be in June 1901. Tenders for the construction of both the dynamo building and Mr R,C. White's (the electrician) house were won by Thomas H. Sloane.

Don Stafford writes that" the generating equipment was installed by the Brush Electrical Company of Auckland and supervised by Dupair E. Beal, who on completion of the contract was appointed supervisor of the electrical affairs of the town"

Residents were avidly waiting and on Monday, 20th May, 1901, the lights were switched on at the Railway Station, Post Office, and the Sanitorium baths and grounds. 

However demand soon outstripped supply and in 1907/08 Mr Lawrence Birks designed extensions that would double the station output to 200kW.

Thanks to Don Stafford and the J.K.and H.D.Fuller Collection


Discuss This Topic

There are 0 comments in this discussion.

join this discussion

Power in the Rotorua District


Okere Falls Rd, Okere Falls 3074, New Zealand

Latitude and Longitude coordinates: -38.0153997,176.34481140000003

javascript needs to be on to use Google Maps