Lake Manapouri
Image: Kendall Delyser | Creative Commons


The Guardians make recommendations to the Minister of Conservation over issues relating to the operation of the Manapouri Power Scheme operated by Meridian Energy and the Monowai Power Scheme operated by Pioneer Energy.

The Guardians provide a direct link between the public and the Minister of Conservation over issues relating to the operation of the Manapouri Power Scheme and Monowai Power Scheme on the lakes and on the rivers flowing in and out and associated communities.

Establishment and purpose

The Guardians of the Lakes Manapouri and Te Anau were established in 1973 following the Save Manapouri campaign. The campaign was in opposition to the proposed raising of Lakes Manapouri and Te Anau for hydroelectric power generation and the impact it would have on communities and the environment. The proposed raising of the lakes and subsequent planned draw down rates would have created a wasteland of submerged forests, slumped shorelines, loss of pristine beaches and the flooding of the Manapouri township. 

The group was initially tasked with devising lake level and drawdown guidelines for the management of the lakes. There was a 37-year record of natural lake levels and with further scientific work undertaken by Sir Alan Mark and Peter Johnson on lakeshore vegetation the current guidelines were developed. These are enshrined in Section 4A of the Manapouri Te Anau Development Act 1963. 

Under this Act the Guardians of the Lakes along with Meridian Energy as the “operator” can make recommendations to the Minister of Economic Development to make changes to the gazetted guidelines.

Lake Monowai was later added to the Guardians portfolio.

The original Guardians of the Lakes were: Sir Alan Mark (chair), Ron McLean, Wilson Campbell, John Moore, Jim McFarlane and Les Hutchins.

Functions and administration

The functions of the Guardians are set out in the Conservation Act 1987 Part IIb 6X. The Guardians are appointed to make recommendations to the Minister of Conservation on any matters arising from the environmental, ecological, and social effects of the operation of the Manapouri-Te Anau hydroelectric power scheme on the townships of Manapouri and Te Anau, Lakes Manapouri and Te Anau and their shorelines, and on the rivers flowing in and out of those lakes. The same applies for the effects of the Monowai Power Scheme on Lake Monowai.

The Guardians (usually numbering eight) are appointed by the Minister, who also appoints the Chairperson. Two members are nominated by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu to represent iwi interests. A Guardian’s term is five years or longer if re-appointed. Meetings are generally twice to three times a year, or as necessary, and are open to the public. The Guardians also undertake an annual workplan to ensure they are fulfilling their purpose. 

Current members

  • Madeleine Peacock – chairperson, Te Anau
  • Darryl Sycamore – deputy chair, Dunedin
  • Dr. Jane Kitson – Ngāi Tahu, Otatara
  • Dr. Sue Bennett, Te Anau / Rakiura
  • Bill Jarvie, Te Anau
  • David Barnes, Lower Hutt
  • Sacha Jugum, Auckland
  • Ailsa Cain, Ngāi Tahu, Queenstown


The Chairperson
Guardians of Lakes Manapouri, Monowai and Te Anau
Te Anau

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