Widespread use of asbestos commenced in New Zealand in the 1930s when it was imported into the country to manufacture products comprised of asbestos mixed with cement, only ceasing production by the mid-1980s.
New Zealand’s first asbestos regulations came into effect until 1978. It became illegal to import blue (woolly stone) and brown (featuring harsh, spiky fibres) asbestos into the country from 1984 and all asbestos contained products became illegal imports in 2016.
Buildings constructed, altered or refurbished from the 1940s to the mid-1980s are likely to feature asbestos-containing materials. Other common uses for asbestos included insulating boards, friction linings, fire doors, gas and electric heaters, fuse boxes, gaskets, pipe lagging, sprayed insulation and brake linings.
Over the years, much asbestos-containing materials from these sources have ended up in the ground due to improper remediation and treatment services at the time.