First public access to historic dam in 129 years
7 March 2013
First public access in 129 years
The historic Wainuiomata Lower Dam will open to the general public for the first time in 129 years on Saturday 16 March, 2013.
Greater Wellington Regional Council is opening the area to the public after developing buggy-friendly tracks and other facilities to make the area around the dam accessible and safe.
Completed in 1884, the dam is one of the oldest in New Zealand and was a significant source of water for Wellington until the 1950s.
“It is a beautiful area as well as a historically significant site and we are delighted that the public will be able to enjoy it for the first time,” said Regional Council Social and Cultural Committee Chair Nigel Wilson.
This addition to the Wainuiomata Recreation Area will be officially opened on Saturday 16 March. The opening ceremony, hosted by the Regional Council and local iwi, begins at 9:30am.
“It’s a tranquil, sheltered river valley with a wonderful wetland surrounded by regenerating native rain forest, ranging in stature from manuka to mature trees. You can expect to see or hear a full range of local native birds, including kereru, bellbird, tui, paradise duck, and the less common North Island tomtit, rifleman and whitehead. It’s an unexpected treasure, a short distance from suburbia,” said Mr Wilson.
“Everyone’s welcome, but please leave your dog at home – while dogs are allowed on leads in other parts of the Wainuiomata Recreation Area, they are not allowed around the dam because of the wetland birds breeding there.”
The walks, swimming holes and picnic areas extend 1.8km up valley to the historic Lower Dam. The walk from the car park is approximately 80 minutes return.
OPENING OF THE WAINUIOMATA LOWER DAM
Saturday 16 March
Wainuiomata Recreation Area
How to get there: Take the main road south through Wainuiomata to Coast Rd, turn left onto Moores Valley Rd, right into Whitcher Grove, go straight ahead to Reservoir Rd.
Facts about the Wainuiomata Lower Dam:
• The Wainuiomata Lower Dam was commissioned in 1884, making it one of the oldest dams in New Zealand
• It was the second major source of water for Wellington city, after the lower Karori dam
• The dam is 10 metres high
• It’s an earth-fill embankment dam with a near-vertical concrete wall on the upstream side
• Total capacity of the dam was 27 million gallons (122 million litres)
• 27km of pipeline was laid from the dam to Wellington city
• It cost £130,000 to build the dam and pipeline
• By 1887, it was supplying 176 litres per head per day (population of Wellington was 26,000)