Month Calendar View

Historic NZ events in November

Nov

1

Old-age Pensions Act becomes law

1898 Old-age Pensions Act becomes law

A world first, the Act gave a small means-tested pension to elderly people with few assets who were ‘of good moral character’. It was one of the major achievements of Richard Seddon’s Liberal government. Read more...

Polish refugees arrive in New Zealand

1944 Polish refugees arrive in New Zealand

Over 800 Polish refugees arrived in Wellington, seeking safety from war-torn Europe. For the 732 children and 102 adults it was the end of a long and perilous journey. Read more...

Nov

2

New Zealand Division leads breakthrough at El Alamein

1942 New Zealand Division leads breakthrough at El Alamein

At El Alamein in Egypt, the 2nd New Zealand Division opened the way for British armour, allowing the Allies to make a breakthrough and push the Axis forces in North Africa into retreat. Read more...

Nov

3

Manawatū rail link opened

1886 Manawatū rail link opened

Built by the privately owned Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company (WMR), the line helped open the Kapiti Coast, Horowhenua and Manawatū to European settlement. Read more...

'Summer time' reintroduced on trial basis

1974 'Summer time' reintroduced on trial basis

The trial proved popular with most New Zealanders and daylight saving of one hour between October and March was made permanent in 1975. Read more...

Birth of Anchor butter

1886 Birth of Anchor butter

From a dairy factory at Pukekura, Waikato, Henry Reynolds launched his Anchor butter. The brand name, allegedly inspired by a tattoo on the arm of one of his workers, would become one of this country’s best-known trademarks. Read more...

Nov

4

New Zealand Division captures Le Quesnoy

1918 New Zealand Division captures Le Quesnoy

By early November 1918 Germany stood alone against the Allies and revolution was breaking out behind the lines. But the German army was still resisting on the Western Front, and the New Zealanders’ capture of the walled northern French town of Le Quesnoy was a bold feat of arms. Read more...

Phar Lap wins the Melbourne Cup

1930 Phar Lap wins the Melbourne Cup

Ridden by Jimmy Pike, the New Zealand-bred (but Australian-owned) wonder-horse beat Second Wind by two lengths to claim one of his greatest victories. Read more...

Nov

5

Invasion of pacifist settlement at Parihaka

1881 Invasion of pacifist settlement at Parihaka

About 1600 government troops invaded the western Taranaki settlement of Parihaka, which had come to symbolise peaceful resistance to the confiscation of Māori land.

Read more...

Battle of Featherston Street

1913 Battle of Featherston Street

The ‘Battle of Featherston Street’, in downtown Wellington, saw some of the most violent street fighting of the 1913 Great Strike. Read more...

Nov

6

Last spike completes North Island main trunk railway

1908 Last spike completes North Island main trunk railway

Prime Minister Sir Joseph Ward ceremonially opened the North Island main trunk railway line by driving home a final polished silver spike at Manganuioteao, between National Park and Ohākune. Read more...

Nov

7

The <em>Acheron</em> arrives to survey New Zealand waters

1848 The Acheron arrives to survey New Zealand waters

Captained by John Lort Stokes, the paddle steamer Acheron spent four years charting the New Zealand coastline. Read more...

Public Service Act passed into law

1912 Public Service Act passed into law

The Public Service Act was passed into law, creating a framework for New Zealand’s bureaucracy that was to endure until 1988. The Act was the brainchild of lawyer Alexander Herdman, a senior minister in the new Reform Party government. Read more...

Last unclimbed face of Aoraki/Mt Cook conquered

1970 Last unclimbed face of Aoraki/Mt Cook conquered

Long-haired Christchurch mountaineers John Glasgow and Peter Gough became the first people known to have scaled the 2000-m Caroline Face of Aoraki/Mt Cook. They declared it a ‘triumph for the hippies’. Read more...

Nov

8

New Zealanders march into besieged Madrid

1936 New Zealanders march into besieged Madrid

Griff Maclaurin and Steve Yates were part of the International Column of anti-fascist volunteers which marched into Madrid, bolstering the city's defences against the assault of General Francisco Franco's rebel armies. Both men were killed in battle within two days of arriving Read more...

New Zealand Centennial Exhibition opens

1939 New Zealand Centennial Exhibition opens

More than 2.6 million people visited the New Zealand Centennial Exhibition, which ran for six months at Rongotai, Wellington. It was the centrepiece of the centennial of the signing of the Treaty of the Waitangi. Read more...

Nov

9

Cook observes transit of Mercury

1769 Cook observes transit of Mercury

James Cook helped his astronomer Charles Green observe the transit of Mercury at Te Whanganui-o-Hei (Mercury Bay), Coromandel Peninsula. Read more...

White New Zealand policy introduced

1920 White New Zealand policy introduced

The Immigration Restriction Amendment Act 1920 required immigrants to apply for a permanent residence permit before they arrived in New Zealand. Read more...

Nov

10

Te Kooti attacks Matawhero

1868 Te Kooti attacks Matawhero

The Matawhero ‘massacre’ was Te Kooti’s utu (revenge) for his exile to the Chatham Islands and subsequent events.

Read more...

Telegraph Department cleared of 'hacking' charges

1871 Telegraph Department cleared of 'hacking' charges

Events in 1870-71 led Otago Daily Times editor George Barton to claim in his newspaper that the government had been intercepting telegraphs for political gain. Read more...

Sutherland Falls 'discovered'

1880 Sutherland Falls 'discovered'

The renowned backwoodsman Sutherland 'discovered' the waterfall that bears his name near what is now the Milford Track – New Zealand’s best-known walking track. Read more...

Nov

11

Armistice Day

1918 Armistice Day

The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month was the moment when hostilities ceased on the Western Front in 1918, following the signing of an armistice Read more...

Troopship <em>Awatea</em> goes down fighting

1942 Troopship Awatea goes down fighting

The Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand’s sleek 13,482-ton trans-Tasman liner Awatea, launched in 1936, was one of the finest and fastest ships of its size in the world at the outbreak of the Second World War. Read more...

Andy Haden dives to save rugby test

1978 Andy Haden dives to save rugby test

With two minutes to play in a rugby test match against Wales, All Black lock Andy Haden flung himself sideways as if in a C-grade action movie in an attempt to secure a match-winning penalty Read more...

Nov

12

Striker fatally wounded at Waihī

1912 Striker fatally wounded at Waihī

Striking worker Fred Evans was badly injured in the Bay of Plenty goldmining town of Waihī. He died next day. Read more...

Nov

13

Mount Tongariro erupts

1896 Mount Tongariro erupts

At 12.40 p.m. on 13 November 1896, Te Maari, a crater at the northern end of the Tongariro range, erupted spectacularly. It continued to erupt sporadically for nearly a year. Read more...

David Gray kills 13 at Aramoana

1990 David Gray kills 13 at Aramoana

The small seaside township of Aramoana, near Dunedin, was the scene of the deadliest mass murder in New Zealand history when David Gray went on a shooting spree that left 13 people dead. Read more...

Nov

14

DPB legislation enacted

1973 DPB legislation enacted

The passage of the Social Security Amendment Act introduced the Domestic Purposes Benefit (DPB) to New Zealand’s social welfare system. Read more...

Nov

15

First issue of <em>Otago Daily Times</em> published

1861 First issue of Otago Daily Times published

Dunedin became the first New Zealand centre with a daily newspaper on publication of the first issue of the Otago Daily Times. Read more...

Nov

16

New Zealand officially becomes British colony

1840 New Zealand officially becomes British colony

New Zealand became a separate colony of the United Kingdom. North, South and Stewart islands were to be known respectively as the provinces of New Ulster, New Munster and New Leinster. Read more...

Hamiora Pere executed for treason

1869 Hamiora Pere executed for treason

Hamiora Pere was hanged at the Terrace Gaol, Wellington. He is the only New Zealander to have been executed after being convicted of treason. Read more...

First conscription ballot

1916 First conscription ballot

The Military Service Act passed on 1 August 1916 had made all healthy New Zealand men of military age (20 to 45) liable for active service overseas. Read more...

Nov

17

New Zealand and South Seas International Exhibition opens

1925 New Zealand and South Seas International Exhibition opens

Governor-General Sir Charles Fergusson opened Dunedin’s New Zealand and South Seas International Exhibition in November 1925. Read more...

Nov

18

<em>Cospatrick</em> fire kills 470

1874 Cospatrick fire kills 470

En route to Auckland laden with immigrants, the Cospatrick caught fire off the Cape of Good Hope. The tragedy has been described as New Zealand's worst civil disaster.

Read more...

41 die in Ballantyne's fire

1947 41 die in Ballantyne's fire

The fire in Christchurch’s prestigious department store was one of the worst in New Zealand’s history. Read more...

Nov

19

Pike River mine explosion kills 29

2010 Pike River mine explosion kills 29

The mine exploded at 3.45 p.m. on Friday 19 November 2010. Twenty-nine of the 31 men underground died immediately or shortly afterwards from the blast or because of the toxic atmosphere this generated. Read more...

Nov

20

Mass murder in the Bay of Islands

1841 Mass murder in the Bay of Islands

Maketū Wharetōtara, the 17-year-old son of the Ngāpuhi chief Ruhe, killed five people at Motuarohia in the Bay of Islands. In March 1842 he became the first person to be legally executed in this country. Read more...

Parachuting Santa crashes in Auckland

1937 Parachuting Santa crashes in Auckland

George Sellars narrowly escaped serious injury when he was able to swing his parachute away from the glass roof of the Winter Gardens during the Farmers’ Christmas parade in Auckland. Read more...

Nov

21

British capture Rangiriri

1863 British capture Rangiriri

More British soldiers were killed at ‘Bloody Rangiriri’ than in any other battle of the New Zealand Wars, but their victory opened the Waikato basin to the imperial forces. Read more...

Nov

22

Freyberg given command of 2NZEF

1939 Freyberg given command of 2NZEF

British-born but New Zealand-raised, Lieutenant-General Sir Bernard Freyberg was a charismatic and popular military leader, who later served as governor-general. Read more...

Nov

23

Civic funeral for 41 Ballantyne's fire victims

1947 Civic funeral for 41 Ballantyne's fire victims

On 18 November 1947 Ballantyne's, a Christchurch department store that was a local institution, was razed by one of the worst fires in New Zealand's history. The bodies of the 41 victims were buried at Ruru Lawn Cemetery, Bromley, after a civic funeral. Read more...

Pope John Paul II celebrates Mass in windy Wellington

1986 Pope John Paul II celebrates Mass in windy Wellington

The first and so far only visit to New Zealand by a Bishop of Rome was significant for Catholics and the wider community. Read more...

Nov

24

Fifteen die in mysterious shipwreck

1959 Fifteen die in mysterious shipwreck

All hands were lost when the modern coastal freighter Holmglen foundered off the South Canterbury coast. The cause of the tragedy was never established. Read more...

Nov

25

Fitzsimmons wins third world boxing title

1903 Fitzsimmons wins third world boxing title

By winning the light-heavyweight championship, Timaru boxer Bob Fitzsimmons became the first man to have won world professional boxing titles in three weight divisions. Read more...

Nov

26

'Kiwi Keith' begins 12-year reign as prime minister

1960 'Kiwi Keith' begins 12-year reign as prime minister

Keith Holyoake led the National Party to victory over Walter Nash’s Labour government, and went on to become New Zealand’s third longest-serving prime minister behind Richard Seddon and William Massey. Read more...

Nov

27

Death of Te Rauparaha

1849 Death of Te Rauparaha

The formidable Ngāti Toa leader had dominated Te Moana-o-Raukawa - the Cook Strait region - from his base at Kapiti Island for nearly 20 years. Read more...

First Labour government wins power

1935 First Labour government wins power

The 1935 general election has long been seen a defining moment in New Zealand’s history. Undermined by its failure to cope with the distress of the Depression, the Coalition (or ‘National’) government was routed by the Labour Party led by Michael Joseph Savage. Read more...

Liner sunk off East Cape

1940 Liner sunk off East Cape

The 16,712-ton New Zealand Shipping Company liner Rangitane was intercepted and sunk 550 km off East Cape, with the loss of 15 lives. Read more...

Nov

28

Women vote in first general election

1893 Women vote in first general election

New Zealand women went to the polls for the first time, just 10 weeks after the governor signed the Electoral Act 1893, making this country the first in the world to give all adult women the vote. Read more...

257 killed in Mt Erebus disaster

1979 257 killed in Mt Erebus disaster

On the morning of 28 November 1979, Air New Zealand Flight TE901 left Mangere airport, Auckland, for an 11-hour return sightseeing flight to Antarctica. At 12.49 p.m. (New Zealand Standard Time), the aircraft crashed into the lower slopes of Mt Erebus killing all 257 passengers and crew. It was the worst civil disaster in New Zealand’s history. Read more...

Air New Zealand A320 crashes in France

2008 Air New Zealand A320 crashes in France

An Air NZ Airbus A320 crashed off the coast of France. All seven people on board, including five New Zealanders, were killed. It was 29 years to the day since Air NZ Flight TE901 had crashed in Antarctica, killing all 257 on board Read more...

Nov

29

First woman mayor in British Empire elected

1893 First woman mayor in British Empire elected

By becoming mayor of Onehunga, Auckland, Elizabeth Yates struck another blow for women’s rights in local-body polls held the day after the first general election in which women could vote. Read more...

Nov

30

Election of first National government

1949 Election of first National government

The Labour government, led by Peter Fraser, was defeated by Sidney Holland’s National Party after 14 years in office. The result heralded a long period of National dominance, with the party holding power for 29 of the next 35 years. Read more...