Topic: Mount Maunganui

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Until about 1910, Mount Maunganui was a sandy peninsula with a sprinkling of holiday cottages. Then Railway workshops were opened, which attracted a larger permanent population and led to the construction of the first commercial wharf.

Prior to the First World War the Mount Maunganui area constituted little more than a deserted sandy peninsula.  However, after the war, scattered settlements began to appear with the development of Mount Maunganui as a little-known holiday resort.

The fame of the area as a holiday resort spread, and the population continued to increase until Mount Maunganui became a Dependent Town District of the Tauranga County in 1927.  Ten years later, it was proclaimed an Independent Town District.

Borough status followed in 1945, with Mr McDonald elected the first Mayor. The popularity of “The “Mount” as a beach resort grew rapidly.

The Port

Running parallel with the growth of the Borough as a holiday venue has been the growth of Mount Maunganui as a port.  As far back as 1910 Mount Maunganui had possessed a wharf built for the purpose of bringing in materials for the construction of the East Coast Main Trunk Railway. 

The Tauranga Harbour Board was constituted in 1912.  Up until 1952, all operations were based in Tauranga with trade at that time being in the order of 120,000 tonnes per year, most of which was coastal. The depth of the access channels into the harbour prior to 1953 limited shipping to a draught of 4.1 metres.

A short time prior to 1952 the Government authorised a Commission of Enquiry to study the establishment of a new export port to cater in the first instance for forestry produce from the Tasman plant at Kawerau.  As a result of the Commission’s findings, it was decided that the Port of Tauranga should be developed with deep-water wharves at Mount Maunganui to cater for overseas shipping.  Construction was commenced in June 1953 and the first berth was operational in 1955.  From the initial 426 metres the wharf has grown in stages to its present length of over 2,000 metres.

Since 1966 the port has been New Zealand’s largest export port and the fourth largest in overseas tonnage handled.  The total throughput handled in 1986/87 was 3.5 million tonnes.  The maximum shipping draught has been increased by dredging from 4.1 metres in 1953 to 10.7 metres in 1978.  The area of the port’s influence has extended significantly and it is anticipated that it will in the future.

The Port.
The port

As the hinterland has grown, the variety of cargoes passing through the port has continued to diversify, and although the basis of trade is still centred predominantly on forestry and dairy exports, there has also been a significant growth in volume of import cargoes and it is anticipated that this trend will continue.  The Bay of Plenty Harbour Board initiated the reclamation of Sulphur Point for future Port purposes in anticipation of this general increase in growth.

These major extensions to the port commenced in July 1989 with new wharf and facilities which were completed in 1992 with 940 metres of wharf, two container cranes, 20 hectares of paved storage and in excess of six hectares of covered storage.

(The above text was originally printed in the Official Information Manual and Services Guide, 1992, Tauranga District Council.) 

 See also:

Mount Maunganui Town Board (29kb pdf) (archived version here: https://perma.cc/CC7C-DVA)

This page was archived at perma cc January 2017 https://perma.cc/j9vg-eqdq

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Mount Maunganui


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