In her recent report exploring the in the way choices between generating hydroelectricity and preserving wild and scenic rivers are made, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment highlights the case of the Ohakuri Dam, which was built on the Waikato River in 1961. This was the site of the spectacular Orakei Korako geothermal area, known as “Geyserland”. Continue reading
When is a lake not a lake? The case of Lake Karapiro
On a recent trip from Rotorua to Hamilton, I stopped to look at what I thought at the time was a section of Waikato River, just west of State Highway 1, south-east of Cambridge [click here to view map]. Waikato River is New Zealand’s longest river, running 425 kms from its source on the slopes of Mount Ruapehu, through Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake, then flowing through the Waikato Plains before emptying into the Tasman Sea. I was therefore surprised to see a sign at a jetty informing me that this was in fact a lake – Lake Karapiro.
But something didn’t add up – it seemed remarkably “river-like” for a lake. Continue reading
The history of a little fish – whitebait decline in New Zealand
The front-page article in yesterday’s Kapiti Observer, showing a photo of a local man peering glumly into the his near-empty whitebait net at the mouth of the Waikanae River, prompted me to think about whitebait decline and its historical causes.
But first of all, what are whitebait? Many New Zealanders (including myself, until embarrassingly recently) may vaguely assume that it is a type of small fish – but in fact it is the juvenile form of five species of the fish family Galaxiidae (the most common being inanga). Continue reading