Lake Ruataniwha is located in the Mackenzie Basin in New Zealand‘s South Island. An artificial lake, it was formed as part of the Waitaki hydroelectric project. It lies on the traditional boundary of the Canterbury and Otago provinces with the town of Twizel two kilometres to the north.
The lake is named after Ruataniwha Station, a large sheep station in the area, part of which was purchased by the NZ Electricity Department as the site for the township of Twizel. Ruataniwha was a Maori chief who was drowned when the canoe Arai-te-uru sank near Moeraki in the 12th century.
Twizel is the largest town in the Mackenzie District, in the Canterbury Region of New Zealand’s South Island. The town was founded in 1968 to house construction workers on the Upper Waitaki Hydroelectric Scheme. Twizel has a resident population of 1,210 (June 2015 estimate); during the summer, holidaymakers nearly triple the town’s population.