Windmills of New Zealand

European style windmills, such as for grinding wheat, were never numerous in New Zealand, and a number of those that were built starting from the mid 19th century had their machinery produced in England and shipped out for local assembly. Things have come full circle - the only extant working windmill in the country is a modern built one at Foxton, championed by members of the local Dutch community - and the machinery for that was shipped out from Europe, from the Netherlands!

As the colony progressed at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries, the wind began to be employed driving wind engines, predominantly for pumping water. These were used extensively by the railways, (at least 116 railway windmills are known of) to ensure they could pump the water needed for their steam locomotives, and of course even more widely on farms to keep the stock watered. Many of these were imported, but local designs and manufacturing also took place.

In the 21st Century, wind (of which New Zealand has a huge abundance!) is once again used as a major energy source, with extensive onshore wind farms to be found in a number of particularly windy spots.

Surviving mills

# id name location date type
1 nz1 De Molen Foxton 2003 smock A fully functional Dutch style flour windmill, constructed in the 21st century
2 nz4 Hassell's Windmill Oamaru 1867, mostly demolished by 1909 tower Just a few rows of stone blocks remain of the mill that was largely demolished by 1909.

More New Zealand mills coverage on this site


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Last updated 27/07/2020 Text and images © Mark Berry, 1997-2020 -