PUKETAHA DIGITAL SCRAPBOOK
A miscellaneous collection of old photographs, newspaper clippings, stories and other bits and pieces from time gone by.
Peat fires were a major problem while the peat land was being developed, often causing devastating damage.
NORTHERN AREAS UNDER A PALL
MUCH LOSS REPORTED
Evening Post: 11th February 1932
For the last two days Hamilton has been smothered in smoke from extensive grass and peat fires at Tuhikaramea and in other directions south of Hamilton (stated the correspondent of the Auckland Star, writing yesterday). In Rukuhia swamp the peat fires, fanned by a strong south-easterly wind, swept across to the properties of Messrs. R B Cranwell and R McIndoe. A mile of a shelter belt of trees was destroyed, and two miles of fencing was burned. After hours’ exhausting fight the flames were under control, but not before 15 acres of Mr Cranwell’s property and 20 acres of Mr McIndoe’s were burned.
The position at Gordonton is more serious. The properties of Messrs. F R Seddon, W N Speedy, N K Taylor and W J Finlay were in imminent danger. The flames were fanned alarmingly by Tuesday’s gale, and with a strong wind still blowing, the fires show no sign of abating. The owners have been obliged to move their stock, and have employed more men in an endeavour to keep the flames in check.
Gangs, working day and night, are busy digging trenches and fighting the fires. Nevertheless, many acres of valuable grass land have been destroyed, and hundreds of acres are in danger. Unless rain comes soon the position will be serious.
On Monday big flax plantations at Puketaha and Gordonton were threatened. The danger was averted by the combined efforts of many employees.
The Hamilton Fire Brigade is being kept exceptionally busy attending grass fires in the Fire Board area.
Another peat fire: Waikato Times - 18 Jan. 1906
It began on "Doctor's Block," in the lower portion of Mr Thomas Stone's late property, on the Tauhei road, where there was a great deal of long dry grass. It is now going through Mr Seifert's property where it has destroyed a quantity of flax. The owner has 15 men fighting the flames and will be a considerable loser. Mr Seifert himself was once surrounded by the flames and could only be rescued with difficulty. The change in the wind brought the fire right along to Mrs McNicol's* at the back of Hukanui and into Mr Taylor's at Bushy Park. Mr Taylor had hundreds of acres of ti-tree cut all of which has now been burn just at the wrong time for sowing grass. The fire has nearly reached Mr F. R. Seddon's*, and unless checked by heavy rain or a change of wind, may go right through to Eureka. It has already devastated a considerable area of country; from Mr Seifert's to Bushy Park is six or seven miles, and the nearest point of the fire is now eight or nine miles from Hamilton.
*Mrs.McNicol’s property was where Global Vets is today
*F R Seddon – Telephone Road
Waikato Times - 8th March 1932
I'm not sure where Mr Knights farm was in Puketaha, but I have an idea it might have been on the Gordonton Road somewhere between Puketaha Road and Carrs Road.
Puketaha Cub Pack - 1957
Kay's Four Square Food Market - 1960s
A Fiery Letter from a Puketaha Resident - 1939
Major Fire at Puketaha Service Station – July 1968
Jenny Lucey sent through these newspaper clippings of a fire that almost claimed the life of her brother.
WAIKATO COUNTY COUNCIL RATES DEMAND - 1956
91pounds 11 shillings and eight pence would be worth between $5500 and $6000 (ex GST!) in today's money (2023)
In 1989 the Waikato County Council (established in 1876) amalgamated with the Raglan County Council (established in 1876), the Ngāruawāhia Borough Council (established in 1920), and the Huntly Borough Council (established in 1931) to be known as the Waikato District Council.