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Kaipara turbines

Kaipara Power Turbine Installation Project

2006 to 2011



Ngati Whatua and Northland hapu Te Uri o Hau are strongly objecting to the approval for Crest Energy to install up to 200 power generating underwater turbines at the entrance to the Kaipara Harbour.

There are major concerns over the impacts on the marine environment, Maui dolphin, fish stocks and the social and cultural implications of depletion on isolated harbour communities.

In early 2011 both the Environment Court and the Minister of Conservation gave their approval for the staged installation of 200 turbines off the Poutu Peninsula at the north head of the Harbour entrance.

kaipara turbine
(click on image for larger view)

kaipara turbine map

Provisos to the approval require the initial installation of three turbines, the Northland Regional Council will monitor the impacts for two years before another 17 can be installed.

If no adverse impacts are detected then installation can increase to 40, then 80 up to a maximum of 200.

Mihi Watene, Te Uri o Hau Settlement Trust chairwoman, has been at the forefront of the hapu’s campaign to protect the Harbour as a nursery for snapper and other fisheries.

(click on image for larger view)

A NIWA study has found that up to 98 percent of snapper on the west coast of the North Island had spent some of their formative years in the Kaipara Harbour.

Both Ngati Whatua and Te Uri o Hau continue to battle against the project. Kaipara Mayor Neil Tiller and several politicians have also expressed their concerns about the environmental impacts of the project.

Several public meetings have been held and over 500 people have objected to the Environment Court’s recommendations and subsequent approval by the Conservation Minister, Kate Wilkinson.

This is an overview of the process to date. Further links will be added as new information comes to hand.

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To achieve a good level of understanding the process we believe it is important to read the information in chronological order. Please help yourself to the information below. We welcome your feedback.

Note: Most recent documents are at the top of each section.

  2011 2010 2002 to 2009
Kaipara Harbour power turbines process

Project analysis - it will fail

Roger Dewhurst has analysed the Crest Energy Kaipara turbine proposal and concluded that the project will fail for two reasons: magnetic sands will damage the turbines, and reduced tidal currents will result in deposits of sand impairing turbine performance and potentially damaging the undersea cables.........

May 2011


dewhurst kaipara analysis

Public meetings

Te Uri o Hau continues its battle against the Crest Energy proposal, organising public meetings in Dargaville, Te Hana and Helensville. The Kaipara mayor, Neil Tiller, is concerned with the impacts.

29 Mar 11


Radio Waatea interview

Willie Jackson interviews Mikaera Miru, of Te Uri o Hau, about the proposal to install tidal generators at the Kaipara Harbour entrance. Major concerns for snapper, other fish, Maui dolphins and orca whales.

21 Mar 11

Minister's approval announcement

Article advising the Conservation Minister had approved the Crest Energy proposal to install tidal power generators at the Kaipara Harbour entrance. The NRC is to monitor the impacts from the initial three turbines on marine life before another 17 can be installed. That increases to 40, 80 and up to a maximum of 200.

17 Mar 11

Ministerial approval confirmed

Kate Wilkinson, Minister of Conservation, approves the staged development of the Crest Energy proposal to install up to 200 turbines at the Kaipara Harbour entrance.

17 Mar 11


Panui to public meeting

More than 300 people attended a public meeting in Dargaville Town Hall to discuss the government's approval for the Crest Energy project. Further meetings planned for 11 and 12 April in Te Hana and Helensville respectively.

7 Mar 11


Meeting notice

Notice of a public meeting organised by Te Uri o Hau, to oppose the Crest Energy project and the Environment Court's February approval of the project.

3 Mar 11

Environment Court decision details

Article covering details about the Environment Court decision and the requirement to firstly install three turbines and monitor the results. Crest Energy pleased, and waiting for final consent from the Conservation Minister, Kate Wilkinson.

8 Feb 11

Adverse decision by the Environment Court

The Environment Court approves the resource consent for the Crest Energy proposal, but specifies that certain conditions must be met and there will be a staged development. (Caution: Large document........4.0MB)

3 Feb 11



Massive turbines for the Kaipara Harbour

option4 Update #133 discusses the Crest Energy proposal and concerns about the snapper population and sustainability of other important west coast fisheries.

May 2010

Presentation to Hokianga Accord

Presentation by Te Uri o Hau at the Hokianga Accord hui, Oturei Marae, Kaipara. Various viewpoints were discussed after this korero [talk] by Mihi Watene, Te Uri o Hau Settlement Trust chairwoman and John Retimana of Ngati Whatua. Robust discussion followed this presentation.

22 Apr 10

(Pdf 230Kb)

Sea-power promoters swimming against the tide

NZ Herald Opinion piece - Sea-power promoters swimming against the tide. Discusses the Crest Energy Kaipara Harbour proposal and other potential power generating projects.

19 Apr 10

Maori Party media release

Hone Harawira supports Ngati Whatua and Te Uri o Hau and wants the foreshore and seabed issue sorted before this project proceeds.

14 Apr 10

(Pdf 60Kb)

Crest Energy FAQs

A comprehensive list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and answers online at Crest Energy's website here..........

Apr 2010


Interim Court decision

Interim Environment Court decision includes a map of the likely installation area and description of how large the power turbines will be: 30m x 25m x 24m. (Caution: Large document........4.6MB)

Apr 2010

(Pdf 4.6MB)

Minimum requirements for turbine installation

Presentation from Siemens - The minimum data required to assess a suitable site and the ideal conditions.

Apr 2010

(Pdf 100Kb)

Description of site data required

Presentation from Siemens - An interesting description of the minimum data required to assess a suitable site for tidal generators.

Apr 2010

(Pdf 180Kb)

Potential benefits of Crest Energy project

NZ Herald article discussing the potential benefits of the Crest Energy tidal project in the Kaipara Harbour. The Environment Court has recommended that the Conservation Minister approve the project, with certain conditions.

11 Jan 10

2002 to 2009

NIWA Report - west coast snapper

A review of land-based effects on coastal fisheries and supporting biodiversity in New Zealand. Mark Morrison et al. 2009 (Caution: Large document........5.7MB)


(Pdf 5.7MB)

Niwa snapper study

Tory Channel turbines?

Dominion Post article discussing the possibility of 20 tidal turbines being installed in the Tory Channel, Marlborough Sounds. Downplays the impacts.

9 Dec 09

Nine year plan

NZ Herald article - Tood Energy announces it is taking a 30% stake in Crest Energy's Kaipara Harbour tidal generator project. Crest Energy aims to have the project fully operational within nine years.

4 Dec 09

Interesting perspective on Kaipara project

Seminar presentation by Garry Venus of Argo Environmental to the Resource Management Law Association of NZ, Auckland branch seminar, in November 2009. Worth reading. (Caution: Large document........3.6MB)

Nov 2009

(Pdf 3.6MB)

Conservation Minister's appeal

The Conservation Minister advises that an appeal is being lodged against the Northland Regional Council consent, to consider the impacts on marine mammals.

13 Oct 08

(Pdf 60Kb)

MFish advice of NRC consent

MFish advise the Northland Regional Council has granted consent for the Crest Energy project. Turbines to be installed in stages and impacts monitored. Appeal can be made to the Environment Court within 15 days of the decision.

25 Aug 08

(Pdf 60Kb)

Neptune Power - merits of turbines

Neptune Power Ltd article discussing the merits of developing tidal stream energy and particular turbines suitable for use in the Cook Strait.

9 Feb 07

(Pdf 110Kb)

DoC questions mortality rates

A letter from the Department of Conservation to Peter Fraenkel challenging the notion that there would be insignificant impacts on marine mammals. DoC notes the "turbines may pose a risk to whales and the whales a risk to the turbines".

5 Sep 06

(Pdf 70Kb)

Tidal current technology paper

Paper by Peter Fraenkel. This sets the context for the development of tidal current technology and considers the likely environmental impacts on mammals and birds. The conclusions have since been challenged by DoC (see above, 5 Sept 2006).

27 May 06

(Pdf 110Kb)

Sealion autopsies - interim report

DoC interim report - autopsy of sealions caught in commercial fisheries, May 2002. Sent by DoC to Peter Fraenkel and Neptune Power on 5 Sept 2006.

6 May 02

(Pdf 130Kb)



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