After several fires which badly affected Hāwera, the borough’s insurance underwriters demanded that a water tower be built to provide a reservoir of water for firefighting. Designed by borough engineer J. C. Cameron, the 54.2-metre tower was completed in 1914. Soon afterwards an earthquake tilted the structure by 76 centimetres. Local architect John Duffill was called in as a consultant, and the lean was corrected by anchoring the lower side with a concrete block, then undermining the opposite side and filling the tanks so the tower slowly returned to near-vertical. The structure later became redundant as other, more efficient, water supplies were developed for the town. The deteriorating tower was restored in 2004.
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