A tale of two currents

Morgan Gorge, a spectacular chasm on the South Island’s West Coast, is a showpiece of whitewater power. Although it has been paddled by fewer than a dozen people, it is the aspiration of kayakers here and around the world to tackle its supreme challenge. If the Minister of Conservation grants a concession to electricity company Westpower to build a hydro-generation scheme on the Waitaha River—as she says she intends to do—Morgan Gorge will become an emaciated trickle for much of the year. Opponents say this would be an environmental tragedy and a cultural loss, tantamount to building a windfarm on the summit of Aoraki/Mt Cook.

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