T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Te Henui Iron Sand Furnace.

Interest in smelting Taranaki’s iron sands began in the 1840s - the earliest days of Pākehā settlement. Several attempts were made over the years.
In 1872 E.M. Smith formed the New Zealand Titanic Steel and Iron Company Ltd. Operations were established at the mouth of Te Henui River.
The works included a blast charcoal furnace and a powerful engine, designed to create immense heat. Nearly four tonnes of iron was produced and made into a variety of items, including two railway wheels cast at Vivian's foundry in New Plymouth.
The quantity of iron produced was not sufficient to keep the company financially viable and the plant was sold and moved to Onehunga.

A photo of the Te Henui smelter with stacks of wood to make charcoal for the furnace. 


In 1997 a 10-tonne block of iron was uncovered during site-works for a house near the site of the old steel furnace. It was the result of metal cooling in the furnace.