The Kawerau site was developed in the mid-1950s, and when finished included two pulp and paper mills. The mills built in New Zealand after the Second World War were very differently organised from the earlier ones. The later mills were one part of a massive operation that processed wood for several purposes, including sawmilling, chipping, production of fibreboard and pulp and paper, and in one case a shook factory, which produced short boards that were made into boxes. The waste from one operation, such as sawmilling, could be used in another, such as making pulp and paper.
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