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Published on Jun 7, 2010
B&W, 4 minutes, 35mm, 360 ft. Film Censor Screening: 14 February 1946 Certificate not issued as item was to be attached to Weekly Review No. 233
A Newsreel special of large bush fires in the Taupo region of New Zealand. The Rural Fire Service tackle the blaze.
This National Film Unit Production was made on February 10 1946, highlighting the disastrous fires that spread across the Taupo region. An NFU cameraman was flown over the region to capture the extent of the disaster. Following a prolonged drought, a fire, thought to have been started from a cigarette butt, broke out alongside the Wairakei-Oruanui Road in the Taupo region on 7 February 1946. Next day, fanned by a strong wind, it crossed the Waikato River south of the Aratiatia rapids and threatened the Taupo township. On 9 February the wind changed and the fire travelled north-east, ultimately sweeping both sides of the Waikato River towards Reporoa. This fire, in the space of a few days, swept over more than 250,000 acres of country and destroyed about 30,000 acres of young afforestation company plantations, mostly radiata pine. During the rains that followed in the autumn, very dense regeneration of radiata pine occurred in the burnt-over plantations. The fire had opened the cones which are normally closed and liberated the seeds. As a result of this fire, which was regarded at the time as a national calamity, the Forest and Rural Fires Act 1947 was passed. The National Film Unit was established to publicise New Zealand's participation and achievements during the Second World War. After 1945 the Film Unit expanded from producing weekly newsreels to making documentaries and films to the order of Government Departments. During its existence the Film Unit produced films for national organisations as well as many films on its own initiative. The private film industry in New Zealand relied heavily on the National Film Unit's extensive film processing facilities. Additional caption information sourced from Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand - http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/1966/disa... For updates on our On This Day series and news from Archives New Zealand, follow us on Twitter www.twitter.com/ArchivesNZ