Hydro and the environment

Environmental and social concerns began to make an impact on hydroelectric projects from the 1960s. The first sustained opposition to planned work occurred in relation to Lake Manapōuri.

Part of story: Hydroelectricity

Hydro, 21st century

Hydro power provided 72.9% of electrical energy in 1990, but by 2007 this had dropped to 54.9%.

Part of story: Hydroelectricity


In the 20th century New Zealand governments created lakes and diverted rivers so electricity could be generated in large-scale hydro schemes.

Part of story: Hydroelectricity

Road and utility tunnels

Because cars are better at climbing hills than trains are, New Zealand has fewer road tunnels. Some are very short, such as several on the coast road near Kaikōura – and some are significant, despite being short.

Part of story: Bridges and tunnels

Arts and social engagement

People have used art to persuade and protest in New Zealand since the 19th century. Visual artworks, songs, poetry and theatre have been employed to engage New Zealanders socially.

Part of story: Arts and social engagement

Engineering after 1945

Era of public works New Zealand’s technical and engineering industry expanded in the years after the Second World War, driven by an unprecedented public works programme.

Part of story: Engineering

Conserving rivers

Changes in public opinion Awareness of the need to protect rivers dawned slowly. Efforts to protect river catchments as a way of preventing

Part of story: Rivers

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