Hawera Water Tower

Engineering Work (eg road, bridge, sawmill, dam)


This reinforced concrete water tower was completed in early 1914 to provide adequate water pressure for fire fighting. The designer was the Borough Engineer, J C Cameron and the consultant was S T Silver. It was built by day labour under the supervision of the Assistant Borough Engineer, C P Cameron. It is 51 m high with a cylindrical form having buttresses and changing to an octagonal form with a circular balcony. The top has the main tank, a cylinder containing 454,600 litres. A lower tank holds half this quantity. The interior has a central concrete column with radiating beams supporting the several floors.

It is worth noting that when the Hawera water tower was almost complete a strong earthquake caused it to tilt some 0.75m from the vertical. By using anchors and careful undermining on the low side, with the first tank filled with water to help compress the deliberately dampened clay underneath, it was possible to right the tower in 7 days. The excavated clay was replaced by concrete with the result that the structure has withstood many subsequent shakes.

Formerly there was free entry to the public to climb to the viewing balcony with a panorama dominated by Mt Taranaki. More recently visitors need to go to the town information centre where they can get a key for a small payment to access the tower.

Heritage recognition
This place has been recognised by Heritage New Zealand as a Category 1 historic place (List no. 143):
Concrete Water Tower, Hawera: New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero information (www.heritage.org.nz).

Thornton, Geoffrey, Cast in concrete, Reed, 1996


No Attachments


Corner Albion and High Streets, Hawera, South Taranaki


Access Info

Nature of Engineering
Building and Construction


Water tower, Hawera, ca 1915. ID: 1/2-006028-G. Radcliffe, Frederick George, 1863-1923: New Zealand postcard negatives. Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

(Click image to enlarge )

Lat: -39.58986 Long: 174.28535