Tairāwhiti’s First Solar Farm – Te Ihi o te Rā

Client Name
Eastland Generation
Gisborne, New Zealand
  • Planning
  • Ecology
  • Land quality & remediation
  • Landscape architecture


Tairāwhiti’s first solar farm at 5.2MW comprises nearly 8,000 solar panels, covering 6.1 hectares of land at Gisborne Airport and is the largest operational solar farm in New Zealand. The solar farm generates enough renewable electricity annually to power 1,000 typical homes, while a battery storage system also provides approximately 2MWh of storage.


The team provided expertise in Planning, Ecology, Contaminated Land and Landscape Architecture for this project or more specifically:

  • Planning advice for the feasibility of the project and managing the resource consent;
  • Ecological site survey and restoration of the Waikanae Stream;
  • Land contamination analysis for the contamination of the site, including vigorous investigation due to the site previously having been used as a rubbish dump; and
  • Landscape imagery to show the visual impact of the proposed scheme.

The solar farm gained resource consent in December 2021 following robust multidisciplinary pre-lodgment feasibility and investigation workstreams. The pre-application foundation work identified site-specific risks and benefits, which resulted in an efficient consenting process (consent was gained in only 20 working days).


As of November 2023, Te Ihi o te Rā is now live and is a positive step in the right direction towards New Zealand’s commitment to 100% renewable electricity generation by 2035. Our teams are also proud to have worked on a project that has successfully achieved positive environmental outcomes by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the generation of electricity and rehabilitating the water quality of the Waikanae Stream.

"A big thank you from the Eastland Group to the Gisborne District Council and 4Sight (now SLR) teams for getting this consent request processed and approved so quickly. Well done!”

Steven Follows, General Manager Energy Solutions, Eastland Group

Image: Courtesy of Eastland Generation