Kākāpō, Pelton wheels and frisky sea lions – a Whenua Hou experience


National Partner Meridian Energy staff talk about their experiences on Whenua Hou working on the power system. 


In June of this year Lauren Al-samman, Rob Adams, and Reuben Newhouse, from Meridian Twizel traded in their normal place of work at Ohau A power station for Whenua Hou/Codfish Island.

Sealer’s Bay runway

Travelling to one of NZs most beautiful islands to maintain a safe working power supply to the home away from home for workers and researchers protecting our kākāpō has been ticked off the bucket list for Rob, Reuben and Lauren.

The trio are now part of NZ’s kākāpō success story. The Whenua Hou hut is now equipped with a new isolator switch for the hydro turbine, a new solar panel to charge the generator battery and new bearings for the hydro turbine, just a few of the tasks our Meridian team did whilst on the Island. The team contributed $1000 worth of gear to the island system. Getting up close and personal with kākāpō and frisky sea lions was also on their work programme whilst there.


Rob and Reuben meet a kākāpō with ranger Tim


Checking on the hydro


“One day after a Penstock inspection, I was walking through the bush when I heard a loud crashing, I decided standing still was my best option and at that moment a bloody great bull sea lion burst onto the track in front of me. He was looking for a girlfriend and luckily for me I didn’t fit the category”. Rob.


Sealer’s Bay Hut

The crew loved their time on Whenua Hou and Meridian’s contribution does not end with this work. This is just the start to Meridians commitment to helping out kākāpō through our partnership with DOC to support the Kākāpō Recovery Programme. Rob’s already got the next project in his sights and has committed to sourcing some spare solenoids for the hydro system, which the Kākāpō Recovery Team have not been able to source.

This partnership will contribute to the future growth of the kākāpō population by helping DOC to fund research and pioneering conservation techniques relating to genetics, nutrition and disease management and finding new sites.

This partnership will also help raise awareness of the plight of kākāpō.