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Omanawa Falls Park

Please note: Omanawa Falls Park has been closed to the public for safety reasons. 

The first underground power station in the Southern Hemisphere.

Omanawa Falls Power Station Reserve is located off State Highway 29, the main road running between Tauranga and Hamilton, turn up Omanawa Road and continue for about 12ks.Omanawa Falls Power Station Reserve is an important area of open space for Tauranga City and the Western Bay of Plenty District. The Reserve comprises a historical power station and native bush planting.

Power Station access is not available to the public.

Omanawa Falls

Last Reviewed: 29/09/2016

History of the Power Station


Approval was obtained from the Public Works Department to take water from the Omanawa River to generate electricity and circulate the same throughout the Tauranga Borough and part of the County.

Mr Lloyd Mandeno, the Borough Electrical Engineer had full control of the scheme. First of all, a tunnel had to be made to get access down. The tunnel had to be pick hewn. Once this tunnel was completed, the powerhouse was blasted out of the solid rock and a huge cavern was formed to provide room for the machinery.


Omanawa Station was completed on the 28th of August.
On 2nd October, 1915, the Borough was lit up for the first time with electrical street lights replacing the existing gas lamps. The output from Omanawa was carried to the Borough on a three phase 11kV line.


The machines were found to be too small to supply the Tauranga requirements. A larger 1200 hp plant was installed with a new 650kw generator after the powerhouse was enlarged


The cotton insulation on the windings finally gave up, damaging the coils. These were replaced and it continued for another few years.


 After almost 83 years of service the Power Station was finally shut down by TrustPower Ltd.


A Hydro Electricity enthusiast undertook a lease of the Power Station to restore and recommission it.

Last Reviewed: 11/04/2017