Powering New Zealand doco to premiere here
Episode three of the Powering New Zealand
documentary series premieres this week in Te Awamutu and features Te Awamutu Walk of Fame inductee Lloyd Mandeno.
The series looks at the history of the New Zealand electricity industry covering some of the great pioneers and their world leading projects.
Episode three is titled The People Want More as it covers the period over the mid-20th century where electricity demand increased dramatically as people realised how much difference it could make to their lives; and when so many more appliances became available.
This episode covers Bill Gallagher and the Gallagher family who pioneered the electric fence that made such a difference to farming around the world, and who still lead an international commercial success story.
Bill Latta is also covered, who was an inspirational engineer who developed a plan for supplying the rapidly increasing demand for electricity in the North Island by recommending two world significant projects. The world’s first practical geothermal power station at Waira¯kei and the largest and most advanced transmission project in the world in the 1960’s.
But the star opens the documentary — Lloyd Mandeno — who made such a difference to both the use of electricity and also the distribution of it.
As inventive as Thomas Edison, episode three focuses on, arguably, Lloyd’s two greatest inventions; the world’s first on-demand storage water cylinder and the Single Wire Earth Return distribution system.
The SWER system, or Mandeno’s clothesline, was cheap enough to build powerlines to remote rural communities all over the world (and especially New Zealand) who otherwise would not have got electricity when they did.
Lloyd was born and raised on a farm at Rangiaowhia. The Mandeno family have a long history with the region and many of the family still live around Te Awamutu.
Powering New Zealand is the project of Whiteboard Energy founders David Reeve and Stephen Batstone. Educators and consultants to the electricity industry, David and Stephen have discovered times in New Zealand’s history when it built the largest and first in the Southern Hemisphere and often the world, but so few of the projects and the champion engineers have been heard of.
Determined to elevate these stories and recognise New Zealand’s success, the pair have done a grassroots, crash course in film production.
David Reeve has a close connection with Lloyd Mandeno as his family lived for many years in a farm cottage only a few kilometres from the Mandeno family farm. Raised in Kihikihi and Te Awamutu, David is presenting episode three at a special showing at the Te Awamutu Regent Cinema on Thursday from 4.30pm.
This will be one of the first showings of the episode, launched the day before at the New Zealand Geothermal Workshop at Waira¯kei during celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the Waira¯ kei Power Station.
David thanked cinema owner Allan Webb for making the theatre available. Simon Reynolds of CreateVideo — a professional video production and editing company based in Cambridge is the editor and co-producer.
■ Powering New Zealand premier is a free, public event. Numbers limited.