I have been back from New Zealand for about six weeks, and thought you would be interested in some items of interest that may not be mentioned in tour books.
New Zealand has been overrun by possum. There are so many possum that metal flashing, about 15 inches wide, has been installed on telephone poles; encircling the pole so that possum can’t climb the pole to reach the electric wiring.
While our utilities worry about squirrels, New Zealand’s has to protect against possum.
The Fox glacier started retreating around 1750, near the end of the Little Ice Age. It started advancing again in the mid-1900s, extending itself by around 1,100 feet. It then retreated a little, and has been advancing and retreating since the late 1900s based on the amount of snowfall feeding the glacier. Annual snowfall on the mountains feeding the glaciers is around 200 feet.
I could find no correlation between CO2 emissions and the actions of the Fox glacier.
Maori’s represent around 25% of New Zealand’s population. Their beliefs have an effect on developing geothermal power. Many of the geothermal areas are sacred and are a part of Maori history.
The last eruption of Mount Tarawera occurred in 1886. Legend has it that visitors saw a war canoe with warriors paddling in the lake the day before the eruption and that the canoe was longer than any ever seen in the area. When the visitors called to the warriors in the canoe, there was no reply. The vanishing canoe was seen as an omen of impending disaster. The ensuing eruption buried villages and killed around 200 people.
Legends such as this have to be taken into consideration when planning the development of geothermal power in New Zealand, and possibly in Hawaii.
Air conditioning is in short supply in New Zealand. Temperatures, especially around Auckland, can be toasty during summer months. The South Island, with its mountains, especially on the Western side, tends to have cool nights and warm days. The scarcity of air conditioning affects the electric load, though it appears as though heat pumps are now becoming more common which will mean an increasing load on the electrical system.
The paucity of air conditioning during hot summer days can come as a shock to those who are used to air conditioning.
New Zealand may be the world leader in demand side management. Electric hot water heaters are very common in New Zealand, and the power company uses ripple control of hot water heaters to control peak loads.
People are friendly and very accommodating. Every aspect of nature is spectacular. It’s a wonderful place to visit.
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