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Published Resources Details Conference Paper

Author
Aspden, Rob
Title
Mr Hay - please report
In
19th Australasian engineering heritage conference: putting water to work: steam power, river navigation and water supply
Editors
Engineers Australia and Engineering Heritage Australia
Imprint
Engineers Australia, Barton, A.C.T., 2017, pp. 4-19
ISBN/ISSN
9781922107923
Url
https://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=383943763781932;res=IELENG
Subject
Chronological Classification 1901- Applied Sciences Engineering and Technology
Description

Hydro-electric resources in New Zealand and the 1903 survey of Peter Seton Hay (Superintending Engineer, Public Works Department) and Mr Hancock (California Gas and Electric Company).

Abstract

In 1903 when numerous local communities in New Zealand were seeking to have the magic of electricity available to them, the Liberal party led government decided that they needed to examine and take control of the hydro-electric resources available to them in the country. To this end that year, the Minister of Public Works at the time, Hon William Hall-Jones was successful in having the Water-power Act passed. This gave the government the sole right to use water for generating electricity (or to grant dispensations). At the same time the services of an overseas expert were sought and Mr Hancock of Californian Gas and Electric Company was invited to undertake the task.

He duly arrived in October 1903 and accompanied by the NZ Public Works Department Superintending Engineer, Peter Seton Hay, embarked on a nationwide study of the hydro resources. In the next 74 days the pair covered around 5,600 km travelling by steamer, launch, train, various horse-drawn vehicles, on horse and on foot, from Whangarei in the north to Invercargill in the south. Hancock produced a report by Christmas day that year before returning to the States. Then in September 1904, after more detail had been gathered, Hay produced his report which extended the study. This report heralded the start of the government's involvement in hydro-electric power in New Zealand.

The paper will describe in some detail the amazing journey, overcoming problems of travel in a relatively inaccessible country and the occasional battle with the weather, then give a brief indication of the start of hydro-electric development which followed.

Source
cohn 2018

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  • Engineers Australia and Engineering Heritage Australia (eds), 19th Australasian engineering heritage conference: putting water to work: steam power, river navigation and water supply, Engineers Australia, Barton, A.C.T., 2017, 536 pp. Details