The company building the new Waipipi Wind Farm near Waverley wants a long-standing relationship with South Taranaki people.

"We aren't just here for the 18 months' construction. We are here for 30 years-plus and we want to be an active member of the community," Tilt Renewables chief executive Deion Campbell said.

He was speaking to a group of about 85 at the formal sod turning for the Waipipi Wind Farm on November 1.

The farm has been planned for 10 years and got consent in July 2017. It will have 31 turbines, with a top blade height of 160m, and 14km of road will be built to service them.

Advertisement

The ceremony started at the marae of South Taranaki iwi Ngā Rauru, Te Wairoa Iti, in Waverley. Attendees travelled in two 45-seater buses to the wind farm site on the coast 8km from Waverley and 6km from Pātea.

They listened to speeches from Ngā Rauru tumu whakarae (chairman) Mike Neho and new South Taranaki mayor Phil Nixon, as well as Campbell.

They talked about the significance of the place and the bestowing of the name "Waipipi".

Campbell and a Ngā Rauru elder symbolically turned the first sod, though project road building at the site has been going on for two weeks.

There was only a light breeze at the Waverley coast when the first sod was turned for the Waipipi Wind Farm. Photo / Supplied
There was only a light breeze at the Waverley coast when the first sod was turned for the Waipipi Wind Farm. Photo / Supplied

It was an international group that gathered, including local Ngā Rauru people, bankers who provided finance, Tilt Renewables staff from Australia, representatives of Genesis Energy which will buy the electricity, representatives of the Parininihi Ki Waitotara Incorporation which owns some of the land, and Spanish-based Siemens Gamesa staff who make the turbines and will not be needed until April next year.

Building the wind farm will take 18 months to two years and employ about 150 people, Tilt project manager Jim Pearson said. After that, three people will be needed to manage it over the next 30 years.

It will produce enough electricity to power 70,000 houses.