As these graphs show, after expansion in the early 20th century, the growth of coal production slowed in the interwar years before it peaked at 3 million tonnes in 1960. The Waikato (North region) coalfields grew, but the West Coast fields suffered from the increasing use of oil in shipping, which had been their major market. The nationalisation of all mines in Waikato and the Grey Valley by the early 1940s meant that an increasing proportion of coal was produced by state-owned mines.
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Source: Annual production reports, Mines Department (later Ministry of Energy, then Crown Minerals, Ministry of Economic Development).