The Mt Tarawera eruption on June 10, 1886 covered Scots-born Alexander Harvey's Te Puke farm with ash, forcing him to abandon it and move to Auckland.
In Auckland he rented a corrugated iron shed in Durham Lane and went into business with his three sons making tin cans. They branched into heavier containers, mainly for the dairy industry - cans, buckets, churns and separators.
Alex Harvey & Sons expanded over the next century into New Zealand's largest diversified manufacturing group, becoming a major corporation in 1969 when it merged with the New Zealand interests of Australian Consolidated Industries (ACI).
In 1985 Alex Harvey Industries was acquired by Carter Holt Holdings, creating a major diversified group.