The timber town of Kawerau promises a rare experience. You can tour the giant pulp and paper mill, which produces 900,000 tonnes of product per year.
If you’re interested in the timber industry, Kawerau is your kind of town. It is surrounded by pine forest and the main employer in the area is the huge Tasman pulp and paper mill. You can tour the mill, but you need to book first.
Behind the town is Putauaki (Mount Edgecumbe) – a dormant volcanic cone. If you obtain a permit, you can climb to the summit of the mountain.
Kawerau has a high Maori population compared with New Zealand as a whole – more than 50% of the town’s people are of Maori descent. The cultural heritage of the town is evident at Rautahi Marae, where the carved whare nui (meeting house) represents all the nationalities and tribes of the community.
Functional facts: Approx. population 7000, information centre, good range of shops and services.
Nearby towns by road: Whakatane (27 mins) , Rotorua (49 mins) , Te Puke (63 mins)