New Zealand History

Te Akomanga A space for teaching and learning the histories of Aotearoa New Zealand


1942 Deadly fire at Seacliff Mental Hospital

The fire that swept through a locked ward of the Seacliff Mental Hospital, north of Dunedin, killed 37 female patients.

1972 Whetu Tirikātene-Sullivan becomes first Māori woman Cabinet minister

Whetu Tirikātene-Sullivan became the first female Māori Cabinet minister when she was sworn in as Minister of Tourism in Norman Kirk’s third Labour government

1932 First issue of New Zealand Woman's Weekly

The first issue of the New Zealand Woman’s Weekly was distributed during the Depression. The magazine contained advice on cooking and housework, romantic short stories, knitting patterns and feature articles.

1941 New Zealand at war with Japan

The announcement by the Prime Minister’s Department that New Zealand was in a state of war with Japan followed the surprise attack on the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Japan also attacked Hong Kong, the Philippines, Thailand and Malaya.


Hēnare Balneavis

26 Mar 1880 - 13 May 1940

Hēnare Balneavis became private secretary to Apirana Ngata, and continued in this role when Ngata became Native Minister. He went on to serve as private secretary to a number of Native Ministers, including W.H. Herries, Gordon Coates, George Forbes and M.J. Savage.

New Zealand and the First World War

New Zealand and the First World War

The First World War had a seismic impact on New Zealand, reshaping the country's perception of itself and its place in the world.

Women's Suffrage Petition

Suffrage Petition

The 1893 Women's suffrage petition — signed by more than 25,000 women, about a fifth of the enture adult European female population — helped pave the way for the passage of New Zealand's world-leading Electoral Act in September 1893.

See the digitised version of the petition

Memorials Register

Memorials Register

Find exact locations and further information for more than 1000 memorials throughout New Zealand.

Explore the memorials register