Kawarau Information Centre

Plunket Street
Kawerau, Bay Of Plenty
Visit the Kawerau Information Centre to get a permit for the drive on the forestry road to visit the Tarawera Falls.

Kawerau (population about 7,000) is a planned town built in 1953 to serve what was the Tasman Pulp and Paper mill. The mill is served by the East Coast Main Trunk Railway, is close to the Kaingaroa forest and to a source of geothermal energy.

Three industrial enterprises now occupy the site manufacturing pulp, paper, and soft tissue products. There is also a sawmill and a power station fueled by geothermal energy. The complex generates over a billion dollars in revenue annually.

Thanks to the town's proximity to the forests and related industry, an annual attraction named 'Woodfest' has sprung up. Held in the springtime it doubles the town's population for a week when visitors and locals gather for wood-based festivities. Have a look at the link for this year's dates and attractions.

Worth a driveby is the impressive frontage of the town's college, Tarawera High School on River Road. Opened in 2016, the new buildings are Modern Learning Environments and the reception and admin block custom designed to reflect the ranges behind.

The town has an irregualar community market held at Ranfurly court, Islington Street, check the community website to see when the next one is, sometimes on a Thursday evening.

A few famous Kiwis hail from this manufactured timber town, including entertainer John Rowles. The name of the town is aptly taken from a Tuwharetoa ancestor, who was 'the carrier of leaves'
More general history is on the links below.
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  • Kawerau Location
    Kawerau Location
  • Kawerau Welcome Sign
    Kawerau Welcome Sign
  • The Information Centre
    The Information Centre
  • Tarawera High School
    Tarawera High School
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