Tauranga Harbour & Mount Maunganui Wharf

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


In 1929 English Consultants, Blair & Mason did a report on the development of Tauranga Harbour. The development since the early 1950s has largely followed this report and extensive laboratory tank tests at Wallingford Hydraulics Research Station, England and later computer modelling at Waikato University have verified their foresight.

The creation of the large paper mills at Kinleith created a need for an export port nearby. The early wharf at Mount Maunganui had been extended to 1400 ft in the early 1950s, but it was decided to increase this by another 1200 ft.

The Ministry of Works & Development was given this task and construction started in 1959. The new wharf was innovative as it utilised prestressed concrete piles and prestressed concrete deck planks tied together with normal reinforced concrete pile caps and beams. This has now become accepted practice worldwide but was somewhat challenged at the time by more conservative engineers.

To obtain sufficient depth at the wharf, extensive dredging of the sand adjacent to the wharf was undertaken by suction dredge and that sand was placed behind the new wharf to produce a large area of useful storage land for the wharf buildings etc. Progress was excellent and as costs were significantly below estimate, a further 600 ft of wharf was constructed at this stage.

With these developments and increases in exports, the Port of Tauranga was transformed from a small coastal port to the 3rd largest export port in New Zealand in the 1960s.


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Bay of Plenty

Access Info
There is limited public road or foot access to the Warf area but good views can be had from the Harbour. The broad expanse of the wharf area can be seen from Mt Maunganui.

Nature of Engineering
Infrastructure (incl. Road, water, ports)