Month Calendar View

Historic NZ events in February

Feb

1

New Zealand Company settlers arrive in Nelson

1842 New Zealand Company settlers arrive in Nelson

The Fifeshire arrived in Nelson with immigrants for the New Zealand Company's first settlement in the South Island. Read more...

Trevor Chappell bowls underarm

1981 Trevor Chappell bowls underarm

Trans-Tasman sporting relations reached a new low at the Melbourne Cricket Ground when Australian captain Greg Chappell ordered his brother Trevor to bowl the final delivery of a 50-over cricket international against New Zealand underarm (along the ground). Read more...

Feb

2

Welfare plan gets baptism of fire

1939 Welfare plan gets baptism of fire

A massive fire destroyed the nearly completed three-storey Social Security building. Just seven weeks later a replacement building was opened by prime minister Michael Joseph Savage Read more...

'The greatest middle distance race of all time'

1974 'The greatest middle distance race of all time'

The men’s 1500-m final was run on the last day of the 1974 Christchurch Commonwealth Games. Tanzanian Filbert Bayi ran the first 800m in 1 minute 52.2 seconds, conserved energy on the third lap, and held off 22-year-old New Zealander John Walker to set a new world record of 3:32.16. Read more...

Feb

3

Killer storm sweeps the country

1868 Killer storm sweeps the country

A cyclone swept south across the country from Saturday 1st. By the time it moved away on Tuesday 4th, more than 40 people had been killed. Read more...

Hawke's Bay earthquake strikes

1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake strikes

When the deadly earthquake, measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, struck at 10.47 a.m., many buildings in central Napier and Hastings collapsed immediately. Read more...

Feb

4

First woman to swim Cook Strait

1975 First woman to swim Cook Strait

American Lynne Cox swam from the North Island to the South in 12 hours 7 minutes. The fourth person to do so, she battled heavy seas and strong winds. Read more...

USS <em>Buchanan</em> refused entry to New Zealand

1985 USS Buchanan refused entry to New Zealand

New Zealand's Labour government refused the USS Buchanan entry because the United States would neither confirm nor deny that the warship had nuclear capability. Read more...

Feb

5

Opening of railway from Invercargill to Bluff

1867 Opening of railway from Invercargill to Bluff

The 27-km line between Invercargill and Bluff was the third public railway in New Zealand. Southland's railway ambitions helped drive the province into bankruptcy. Read more...

First Big Day Out music festival in New Zealand

1994 First Big Day Out music festival in New Zealand

The Big Day Out, an Australian franchise based on the successful Lollapalooza model, brought alternative, hard rock, hip hop and, more recently, dance acts together in a one-day festival in Auckland. Read more...

Feb

6

The Treaty of Waitangi signed

1840 The Treaty of Waitangi signed

More than 40 Māori chiefs signed a treaty with the British Crown in the Bay of Islands. This ‘Treaty of Waitangi’ remains controversial. Read more...

Liner <em>Wanganella</em> refloated off Barrett Reef

1947 Liner Wanganella refloated off Barrett Reef

The liner, carrying 400 passengers, struck Barrett Reef in Wellington Harbour on 19 January. Only an unusually long spell of fine weather - dubbed 'Wanganella weather' by locals - saved it from becoming a total wreck. Read more...

Feb

7

New Zealand’s worst shipwreck

1863 New Zealand’s worst shipwreck

For the British military it was the costliest day of the New Zealand Wars – but it occurred far from the battlefield. Bringing naval stores from Sydney, the modern 1706-ton steam corvette HMS Orpheus ran aground on the bar at the entrance to Auckland’s Manukau Harbour. Read more...

Feb

8

Ambush in Turkey leads to death of New Zealand seaman

1915 Ambush in Turkey leads to death of New Zealand seaman

Able Seaman William Edward Knowles became one of the first New Zealanders to be killed as a result of enemy action during the First World War. Read more...

First fatal accident on a scheduled air service in New Zealand

1931 First fatal accident on a scheduled air service in New Zealand

All three people on board a Dominion Airlines Desoutter died after it crashed near Wairoa in Hawke’s Bay. Read more...

Feb

9

Cook completes circumnavigation of North Island

1770 Cook completes circumnavigation of North Island

The Endeavour's arrival at Cape Turnagain confirmed that the North Island was indeed an island, and not part of a fabled great southern continent. Read more...

Wanganui Opera House opened

1900 Wanganui Opera House opened

Opened by Premier Richard Seddon, this large wooden building has been one of Whanganui's finest entertainment venues for more than a century Read more...

New Zealand’s first controlled powered flight

1911 New Zealand’s first controlled powered flight

Pioneering aviator Vivian Walsh took to the skies over South Auckland to complete the first controlled powered flight recorded in New Zealand. Read more...

Feb

10

End of free school milk

1967 End of free school milk

New Zealand children received free milk at school from 1937 to 1967. The first Labour government initiated the scheme – a world first – to improve the health of young New Zealanders (and make use of surplus milk). Read more...

Feb

11

Charles Heaphy earns Victoria Cross

1864 Charles Heaphy earns Victoria Cross

Recommended for a Victoria Cross after rescuing a soldier under fire at Waiari, near Pirongia, Charles Heaphy was given the decoration in 1867. Read more...

Feb

12

SS <em>Penguin</em> wrecked in Cook Strait

1909 SS Penguin wrecked in Cook Strait

The Picton-Wellington ferry SS Penguin struck rocks in Cook Strait and sank in heavy seas off a rugged, isolated coast. Only 30 of the 102 people on board survived. Read more...

Feb

13

Killings at Pukearuhe

1869 Killings at Pukearuhe

A Ngāti Maniapoto war party sacked the redoubt at Pukearuhe (White Cliffs), northern Taranaki, killing military settlers and family members. Later that day, the missionary John Whiteley also fell victim. Read more...

Lance Cairns hits six sixes at Melbourne Cricket Ground

1983 Lance Cairns hits six sixes at Melbourne Cricket Ground

At 44/6 in reply to Australia’s 302, New Zealand was heading for an embarrassing defeat in the second final of the Benson & Hedges World Series Cup when Lance Cairns took guard with the bat dubbed ‘Excalibur’. Read more...

Feb

14

Māori soldiers sail to war

1915 Māori soldiers sail to war

Imperial policy was initially against 'native peoples' fighting in a war between European powers. In February 1915, though, a 500-strong Native Contingent left Wellington for Egypt. Read more...

Te Papa museum opens

1998 Te Papa museum opens

New Zealand’s new national museum, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, officially opened on Wellington’s waterfront, completing a decade of planning and construction. Read more...

Feb

15

First frozen meat shipment leaves New Zealand

1882 First frozen meat shipment leaves New Zealand

New Zealand’s first successful shipment of frozen meat to Britain in 1882 had a huge impact on the colony, paving the way for trade in frozen meat and dairy products that became the cornerstone of New Zealand’s 20th-century economy. Read more...

New Zealand beats England in a cricket test for the first time

1978 New Zealand beats England in a cricket test for the first time

Chasing 137 for victory in the first test at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, England was bowled out for 64, with Richard Hadlee taking 6 for 26. Read more...

Feb

16

James Cook sights Banks 'Island'

1770 James Cook sights Banks 'Island'

Cook sighted Banks Peninsula from the Endeavour. The following day he decided it was an island, which he named for the expedition's botanist, Joseph Banks. Read more...

Sinking of the <em>Mikhail Lermontov</em>

1986 Sinking of the Mikhail Lermontov

At 5.37 p.m. on 16 February 1986 the Soviet cruise liner Mikhail Lermontov hit rocks off Cape Jackson in the Marlborough Sounds. Read more...

Feb

17

'The Russians are coming!'

1873 'The Russians are coming!'

On 17 February 1873, Aucklanders awoke to the news that a Russian warship had entered Auckland Harbour undetected and landed troops ashore. Read more...

Feb

18

New Zealand's last execution

1957 New Zealand's last execution

Walter Bolton, a 68-year-old Whanganui farmer, became the last person executed in New Zealand. Read more...

'Queen of Crime' Ngaio Marsh dies

1982 'Queen of Crime' Ngaio Marsh dies

Marsh, one of 'Queens of Crime' in the 1920s and 1930s, died just weeks after submitting her 32nd detective novel, Light thickens, to publishers. She was also an artist, playwright, actor and director. Read more...

Feb

19

Kopuawhara flood kills 21

1938 Kopuawhara flood kills 21

Twenty men and one woman drowned when a sudden cloudburst sent a wall of water surging through a public works camp in the Kopuawhara Valley, near Māhia. Read more...

Feb

20

Scotland crosses Southland in pioneering flight

1914 Scotland crosses Southland in pioneering flight

J.W.H. Scotland flew a Caudron biplane from Invercargill to Gore, completing the first cross-country flight in New Zealand. Read more...

Yvette Williams sets world long jump record

1954 Yvette Williams sets world long jump record

Eighteen months after winning the long jump gold medal at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, Williams set a new world record of 20 feet 7 1/2 inches (6.29 m) at an athletics meeting in Gisborne. Read more...

Feb

21

Kaitangata mining disaster

1879 Kaitangata mining disaster

On the morning of 21 February 1879, an explosion rocked the coalmine at Kaitangata, South Otago. Read more...

Feb

22

Kelburn cable car opens

1902 Kelburn cable car opens

Wellington's iconic cable car was built to provide residents of the developing hill suburb of Kelburn with quick access to downtown Lambton Quay. Read more...

Christchurch earthquake kills 185

2011 Christchurch earthquake kills 185

On Tuesday 22 February 2011 at 12.51 p.m. Christchurch was badly damaged by a magnitude 6.3 earthquake, which killed 185 people and injured several thousand. Read more...

Feb

23

First step in creation of Fiordland National Park

1904 First step in creation of Fiordland National Park

Nearly 1 million ha of far western Southland and Otago was set aside as a national reserve. Read more...

100,000 welcome home HMS <em>Achilles</em> crew

1940 100,000 welcome home HMS Achilles crew

The Battle of the River Plate in December 1939 was the Allies’ first naval victory of the Second World War. The involvement of the cruiser HMS Achilles, largely crewed by New Zealanders, was greeted with jubilation in New Zealand. Read more...

Feb

24

End of the battle of Langverwacht Hill

1902 End of the battle of Langverwacht Hill

Twenty-four New Zealanders were killed in this battle during the South African (Boer) War. A total of 230 New Zealanders died while serving in New Zealand's first overseas war. Read more...

SS <em>Earnslaw</em> launched on Lake Wakatipu

1912 SS Earnslaw launched on Lake Wakatipu

For more than 50 years after it was launched, SS Earnslaw carried freight and people to and from remote lakeside settlements. Read more...

Feb

25

49 killed in Featherston POW incident

1943 49 killed in Featherston POW incident

Just outside the Wairarapa town of Featherston, a memorial garden marks the site of a Second World War riot that resulted in the deaths of 48 Japanese prisoners of war (POWs) and one guard. Read more...

Feb

26

'Pistols at dawn': deadly duel in Wellington

1844 'Pistols at dawn': deadly duel in Wellington

William Brewer died of wounds received during a pistol duel with another Wellington lawyer, H. Ross, on 26 February 1844. The duel followed a quarrel over a case in the Wellington County Court. Read more...

Feb

27

Troops deployed in waterfront dispute

1951 Troops deployed in waterfront dispute

The waterfront dispute of 1951 was the biggest industrial confrontation in New Zealand’s history. Although it was not as violent as the Great Strike of 1913, it lasted longer – for five months, from February to July – and involved more workers. At its peak, 22,000 waterside workers (‘wharfies’) and other unionists were off the job. Read more...

Feb

28

Kiwi soldier faces firing squad

1945 Kiwi soldier faces firing squad

After more than a year on the run in northern Italy, New Zealand prisoner of war David Russell was recaptured and executed. His courage in the face of death earned him the first George Cross awarded to a member of New Zealand’s military forces. Read more...

Feb

29

Intelligence tests arrive in New Zealand schools

1924 Intelligence tests arrive in New Zealand schools

Following a US study tour by Frank Milner, the rector of Waitaki Boys’ High School, the Education Department began applying the Terman Group Test of Mental Ability to all first-year post-primary school students Read more...

Opening of first road to Maungapōhatu

1964 Opening of first road to Maungapōhatu

A milling road provided the first vehicle access to the tiny Urewera settlement of Maungapōhatu – famous as the former home of the prophet Rua Kēnana Read more...

<em>Lord of the rings</em> wins 11 Oscars

2004 Lord of the rings wins 11 Oscars

Peter Jackson’s last film in the colossal Lord of the rings trilogy, The return of the king, won all eleven Oscars it was nominated for at the 76th Academy Awards in Los Angeles. Read more...