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In 1854 the first New Zealand volunteer fire brigade was formed in Auckland. After starting with only buckets the brigade soon upgraded to manual pumps after they were provided by the Auckland City Council and insurance companies.


In 1856 a Wellington Provincial Council regulation required all citizens to keep two buckets of water ready so they could help in case of fire. A manual fire engine was bought by the council and kept at the Thorndon Police Station under the control of the Police.