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Whau Valley Dam 50th anniversary

This page contains informaiton about the 50th anniversary of Whau Valley Dam's offical opening.
Updated: 17/06/2019 3:10 p.m.

​On Friday a small gathering celebrated the 50th anniversary of Whau Valley Dam’s official opening by the then Mayor Kenneth Haslett, and unveiled a memorial to a worker killed in an accident during its construction. 

The opening was the culmination of over 20 years of work by staff, investigating the best location for the dam and then constructing it to ensure a safe and reliable water source for Whangārei city.

Investigations had included considering building two dams, one at the Whau Stream and another at Young’s Creek, which had been used as a water supply since 1902. 

In 1956 the Whangarei Borough Council’s Waterworks Committee decided to proceed with a single Dam on the Parker’s Mill site, where it remains today.

Consulting Engineers Tonkin and Taylor were contracted to prepare preliminary reports, followed in 1965 by detailed designs.

The construction contract went to Green and McCahill in 1966. Green and McCahill along with local contractors Laughton Engineering, McBreen Jenkins and Culham Engineering undertook most of the work and the project was completed in May 1969.  

Unfortunately, when bush was being cleared for the dam construction, McBreen Jenkins foreman Allen Hutchins was killed in an accident.

A plaque and bench dedicated to him during the opening ceremony 50 years ago, had been badly damaged over the years.  

Friday’s ceremony included a blessing by Kaumatua Dick Shepherd, and unveiling of a new plaque set into a stone memorial, in front of Mrs Hutchins and family members. 

Today the Dam and reservoir continue to provide a safe, reliable and relatively cheap supply of water to the residents of Whangārei, and along with the new treatment plant now being built on Whau Valley Road, will continue to provide water to our city for another 50 years.



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