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.
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.
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.)