New Zealand Diary: Why Do Kiwis Make So Many Things Out of Corrugated Iron?

When we were in Oamaru recently, I noticed some nice old buildings near Friendly Bay that were mainly made from corrugated iron.

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Corrugated “iron” (usually steel) is used a lot more in New Zealand than in England. In England you tend to see it used for agricultural buildings, but here the use extends way beyond that. Our house has a roof made of it and so do many houses, even newbuilds. In fact you often see corrugated metal being used for cladding on building walls. Sometimes it is even used just to make things like this sheep in Tirau, New Zealand’s corrugated capital.

Te Ara states:

Corrugated iron has been one of the characteristic building materials in New Zealand for over 150 years. It is technically light steel sheet that has been galvanised (treated with a coating of zinc on both sides) to prevent rusting, then rolled into corrugations at either 3 or 5 inches (76 or 127 millimetres). First produced in English steel mills in the 1830s, it was regarded as suitable only for temporary buildings.

But it is still all over the shop, probably because construction is very expensive in NZ and Kiwis are used to building things with it.

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