From the 1870s until the early 1900s the vast forests of the eastern Taranaki ring plain were progressively felled and burnt to produce the rich pasture land that forms the basis of the dairy industry. This view just south of Stratford gives some idea of the resulting devastation. In summer, fires in the tinder-dry cutover bush were a constant hazard. In January 1886 a firestorm raged over hundreds of hectares and almost wiped out Stratford township.
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Puke Ariki - Taranaki Museum & Library
Photograph by A. W. Reid
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