Six specially crafted timber pillars have been installed in New Plymouth Airport's new terminal.

The six pillars, each 5.4m high, were installed in pairs, defining the central concourse of the new building and holding up the roof.

The timber came from pine logs that were carefully selected for straightness and the absence of knots.

New Plymouth Airport Terminal Redevelopment Project Director Gaye Batty says timber was used as an alternative to steel columns because it gave warmth to the design and complemented the internal artwork.


"The artwork has been created in partnership with Puketapu hapū to celebrate our unique local culture."

The logs were sliced into full-length planks and the best-looking planks were laminated together for strength. These were then turned on a lathe to form cylindrical beams, then turned a second time to form a distinctive cigar-like shape.

The pillars will also help to open up sight lines in the building so that visitors have an uninterrupted view to Mount Taranaki on one side and out to the sea on the other, following the ancient Puketapu trail from maunga to coast.

New Plymouth Airport Chief Executive Officer Wayne Wootton says the new terminal is an opportunity to better connect Taranaki with New Zealand and the world.

"We're looking forward to being able to offer a world-class travel experience to the 600,000 people who use the airport each year."

The terminal will be up and running by next year and will be completed within the budget of $28.7 million.

■ The airport is a commercial operation. The terminal redevelopment project will be entirely funded from Airport revenues, including landing charges, commercial rents and car parking charges. No rates money is being used.