Borland History

Borland Lodge began life as the Pig Creek Hostel – providing accommodation for power project workers. On completion of the project the buildings were left behind to become a valuable outdoor base for school groups.

The first visitors to the Monowai area were Maori who passed this way on food-gathering expeditions. They would have hunted moa, kakapo and other smaller birds in the area and taken eels from the rivers. European exploration began in the 1800s and when the Monowai area became accessible with punts and bridges crossing the mighty Waiau, cattle and sheep were grazed on the extensive flats.

The Fiordland area has been long-recognised as a treasure trove of nature. Its 1.2 million hectares of mountain, valley, lake and fiord became New Zealand’s largest National Park in 1952. Lake Monowai was identified as a source of water for a hydro-electric scheme and a dam built, the lake raised and generating begun in 1925. It is still going strong, adding a useful 6 megawatts to the National Grid and fondly appreciated by Southlanders.

Forest and scrub was cleared from the flat land and hillsides to be replaced by farmland but in places the soil proved more suited to trees and extensive man-made forests now cover land retired from grazing.

In 1969 the Manapouri Power Scheme began production. Water from Lake Manapouri is diverted down a tunnel to an underground power station and out to Deep Cove. In one of New Zealand’s greatest engineering challenges, pylons were built through Fiordland to carry the power to the aluminium smelter near Invercargill.