Back in 1890, the area known today as Waitangi Park had a very different purpose. It was home to Wellington City Council’s first refuse destructor. In its hey-day it burnt up to 20,000 tonnes of rubbish a year.
The first destructor was officially opened for use by the then Mayor, Samuel Brown, in 1888. Refuse was collected in horse drawn carts, which were taken up a ramp, tipped on a storage floor, then fed through a door into a furnace below.
The destructor operated for 30 years. By the late 1930s, the sewerage system had been extended to a size that meant the destructor could not generate enough steam to run its compressors.
The composition of house rubbish had also changed. Increasing use of electricity meant rubbish had less coal ash in it, thus coal had to be added to ensure a regular steam pressure.