A $2 million clean-up of the contaminated former freezing works at Patea in south Taranaki began on Monday.
The abandoned and derelict plant went up in flames early last year, forcing the evacuation of about 300 residents amid fears of toxic smoke.
Demolition work has started more than a year after the previous government promised $1.5 million towards removing asbestos and toxic chemicals found in ash at the site.
The job will be done by specialised contractors and locals, while independent technical experts oversee progress.
The work is expected to take about six months.