They're electricity economists turned part-time documentary makers - David Reeve and Stephen Batstone have spent the past five years researching and compiling the historic stories of New Zealand's electricity development and the pioneers who drove it.

The five-part documentary is called "Powering New Zealand".

It was funded by the pair themselves, and they hope to premiere an episode in the Beehive's own film theatre within the next few weeks.

The idea for the electricity history film was dreamt up when Batstone was exploring in Central Otago and came across Bullendale - an ancient hydro mine in Skippers Valley near Queenstown.


"We did our first home video doco on that station and then we wondered about telling all the stories about how New Zealand has led the world in electricity," Batstone said.

"We just started to realise there is a lot to be proud of about electricity in New Zealand and that whole 'number-eight-wire-fence' mentality," Reeve said.

"About people back then not being scared to do things that no one had done before. The other thing was the really interesting stories about people that no one had heard of before."

The documentary features power stations from all over the country including the many hydro stations that were constructed along the Waikato River.

Reeve said towns like Mangakino now exist because of the development of electricity schemes.

In Cambridge, Simon Reynolds has spent countless hours editing the first two epsiodes and there are still three more to go.

"A lot of the credit has to go to Steve and Dave," Reynolds said.

"The amount of research that has gone into this project is enormous. I mean my job is pulling together those resources the guys have given me, and animating them, making them actually work within the dialogue the narrative of the actual video."


"We're not video makers by training," Batstone said.

"We are boring old economists from the electricity sector right, so this is all new to us but we have learned so much about how much work goes into making something like this."

The first episode is already available free to watch online.

The second episode explains how the state first got involved in electricity development, hence the hope to premiere it at the Beehive.

By the end of the year, all five episodes of the Powering New Zealand documentary will be available to the public.

"We want to get this out there because we are just so delighted with the footage and the stories we're telling," Batstone said.

Made with funding from