Story: Building materials

Lime kiln

Lime kiln

This lime kiln at Kakahu in South Canterbury was built of local rock in 1882. Limestone was quarried nearby and run along a tramline to the kiln, where it was put in layers between firewood and burned. Burnt lime made a rather inferior mortar. Limestone was extensively quarried in different parts of the country to make cement, which is used to make concrete. Cement is a mixture of two main materials – lime and marl (a calcareous clay). In mid- to late-1800s New Zealand cement was of low quality, and it was not until high-quality cement (Portland cement) was made in the 1880s that it could compete with imports.

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How to cite this page:

Jeremy Salmond, 'Building materials - Stone, bricks and mortar', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 5 June 2023)

Story by Jeremy Salmond, published 11 Mar 2010