Topic: Timeline History of Kawerau Council

Topic type:

Key events in the history of the Kawerau Borough and District Council's.


On 31 March 1954 Francis Prideaux was appointed as town commissioner by
the Governor General.

1956 Kawerau continued to expand. In March 1956 a further 388 acres were added to the Borough.
The census recorded the population as 2740.

In November 1959 the first Mayor, Clive Boyce, was elected. He served with eight elected
councillors - 3 of whom were nominated by Tasman.


Due to Kawerau’s rapid expansion the temporary offices used for local government were
soon outgrown. The new Municipal Offices were officially opened on the 15th June 1960.

1963 The old townsite cafeteria was gifted to the community and officially opened as the Library, Plunket, Rest Rooms and Concert Chamber.

The Board of Commissioners decided on a mayor and 10 councillors for the new full Kawerau Borough Council. They were elected in October 1968.  

1979 Kawerau turned 25! The Governor General Sir Keith Holyoake visited the town to take part in the Silver Jubilee celebrations.
1981 Kawerau was still growing with the population recorded as 8763. Further subdivisions and expansion were planned for the booming town. 

Restructuring at the mill and a population shift meant the Council had many new challenges to face. The Kawerau Enterprise Agency was launched to help with these changes. 


A 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck the Bay of Plenty region on 2 March 1987. Kawerau’s Civil Defence scheme was put to the test. 


Sweeping changes to legislation  meant many councils around New Zealand were amalgamated. Kawerau retained its independence and became the Kawerau District Council. 


Council proposed to extend the municipal offices into the town hall. The community protested and a compromise was reached retaining some of the hall and refurbishing it.


The rubbish dump was closed and Kawerau made the move to a recycling/zero waste approach with the transfer station opening on 1 July 2006. 


In the 2006 Long Term Plan the Kawerau District Council signalled its intention to get directly involved in economic development. The idea being to support initiatives that provide an attractive and enabling environment for investment.


UV water treatment for the town’s water supply was introduced. This chemical-free system uses ultra violet light to kill the DNA of any bacteria present without removing essential minerals. 


Council further collaborated with industry with the $3 million wastewater treatment facilty built by Carter Holt Harvey being transferred to Council to maintain. 


Kawerau was proud to host multiple nations during the World Rafting Championships which showcased Tarawera River and the developed surroundings as a water events facility. 


Survey results show 87% community satisfaction with our Mayor and Councillors. This was higher than the national average meaning the Kawerau District Council is in a good position to deliver another 60 years of service. 

Diamond's are a Council's best friend

This timeline featured in the Diamonds are a Council's Best Friend exhibition curated by Sir James Fletcher Kawerau Museum.