Local history

Wairakei lies in the Taupō Volcanic Zone, on the central plateau of New Zealand’s North Island.

Wairakei Village was established to house the many workers involved in the development and construction of New Zealand’s first Geothermal Power Station built by NZ Electricity Department in 1958. The power station, a ‘wet steam’ set-up was the first of it’s type in the world. A binary cycle power plant was constructed in 2005 to re-use lower temperature steam. The station is situated on the banks of the Waikato River.

From 2013, the Wairakei Station will gradually be phased out and replaced by the newer Te Mihi Geothermal Power Station.

The Poihipi Power Station was built in 1996 at a nearby site in the same steam field.

Geothermal energy produces 13% of New Zealand's electricity supply.

Go to Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand to find out more on Geothermal energy in New Zealand.