New Plymouth Power Station Chimney

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


When it was completed in 1972, the New Plymouth Power Station Chimney was the tallest manmade structure in New Zealand. It stands 198 metres above ground level, contains 16,400 tonnes of concrete, 1200 tonnes of reinforcing steel and almost one million bricks.

The main structure of the chimney is a 90 foot (ft) diameter reinforced concrete windshield which contains five 11 ft diameter flues made of bricks, laid at the rate of 10,000 per day, supported by steel platforms at regular intervals throughout the height of the chimney.

Slipforming of the windshield commenced in February 1971 and, with the exception of one interruption, was completed as a continuous concrete pour at an average rate of five inches per hour. The work was carried out as a design and build contract.

The thermal power station at New Plymouth was commissioned in 1976 and decommissioned in 2007.

Owner: Contact Energy New Zealand Ltd
Designer: Karrena Feuarungasbu GmbH – Germany
Project Manager: Ministry of Works and Development
Principal contractor: Downer & Co Ltd

Heritage recognition
IPENZ “Engineering to 1990” project

This item of New Zealand’s engineering heritage was recognised as part of the IPENZ “Engineering to 1990” project which the Institution organised to help celebrate the country’s sesquicentenary in 1990. A plaque was unveiled to mark the significance of this power station chimney as part of the development of the nation.


No Attachments


Port of Taranaki, New Plymouth


Access Info
The chimney is a highly visible landmark in central New Plymouth and can be viewed at reasonably close proximity from Station Road and around the foreshore.

Nature of Engineering
Electrical Power Generation and Distribution, Building and Construction


Commencement of power station chimney construction, February 1971. Courtesy of R. Aspden

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New Plymouth Power Station Chinmey construction in progress, March 1971. Courtesy of R. Aspden

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New Plymouth Power Station buildings under construction, February 1972. Courtesy of R. Aspden. Note: the chimney is complete in this image and the point where construction was briefly interrupted is defined by the cement run-off marks.

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New Plymouth Power Station and port of New Plymouth, 4 December 1975. Whites Aviation Ltd: Photographs. Ref: WA-72834-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

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Lat: -39.0573 Long: 174.0274