Month Calendar View

Historic NZ events in March

Mar

1

Charles Thatcher gives first NZ performance

1862 Charles Thatcher gives first NZ performance

British-born tenor, Charles Thatcher, gives his first New Zealand performance at Shadrach Jones' Commercial Hotel in Dunedin. Read more...

New Zealand Division formed

1916 New Zealand Division formed

After the evacuation from Gallipoli in December 1915, New Zealand forces returned to Egypt to recover. In February 1916, it was determined that Australian and New Zealand infantry divisions would be sent to the Western Front. On 1 March, the New Zealand Division was formed. Read more...

Mar

2

Missionary Carl Völkner killed at Ōpotiki

1865 Missionary Carl Völkner killed at Ōpotiki

Local Māori adherents of a new religion, Pai Mārire, hanged the Church Missionary Society (Anglican) missionary Carl Völkner from a willow tree near his church at Ōpōtiki. Read more...

Mar

3

Barry Crump publishes <em>A good keen man</em>

1960 Barry Crump publishes A good keen man

One of the most-read books in New Zealand publishing history, A good keen man established Barry Crump’s reputation as an iconic ‘Kiwi bloke’. Read more...

Mar

4

Legendary sheep rustler James Mackenzie caught

1855 Legendary sheep rustler James Mackenzie caught

In March 1855 shepherds searching for 1000 missing sheep in the upper reaches of the Waitaki River apprehended suspected rustler James Mackenzie, one of New Zealand’s first and most enduring folk heroes. Read more...

Mar

5

Census held after two-year delay

2013 Census held after two-year delay

New Zealand’s five-yearly census had been scheduled for 8 March 2011. But after Canterbury’s devastating February earthquake, Government Statistician Geoff Bascand and Statistics Minister Maurice Williamson announced that it would not go ahead. Read more...

Outbreak of the Girls' War at Kororāreka

1830 Outbreak of the Girls' War at Kororāreka

Ururoa, the brother-in-law of Hongi Hika, responded to a rival who had cursed him and his Ngāi Tawake people after a fight between young women on the beach at Kororāreka. Many were killed in the conflict that followed. Read more...

Mar

6

New Zealand Symphony Orchestra debuts

1947 New Zealand Symphony Orchestra debuts

Classical music lovers packed Wellington’s Town Hall for the debut performance of New Zealand’s first national orchestra. Read more...

Mar

7

New Zealand's first official execution

1842 New Zealand's first official execution

17-year-old Maketū Wharetōtara was hanged at the corner of Queen and Victoria streets in Auckland for the 1841 murder of Elizabeth Roberton, her two children, and two other adults.  Read more...

New Zealand troops arrive in Greece

1941 New Zealand troops arrive in Greece

When the Germans attacked Greece on 6 April, they quickly outflanked the Allied defenders, who were forced into a hurried retreat down the peninsula. Read more...

Cyclone Bola strikes

1988 Cyclone Bola strikes

Cyclone Bola, one of the most damaging cyclones to hit New Zealand, struck Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne–East Cape in March 1988 Read more...

Mar

8

First 'talkie' draws crowds in Wellington

1929 First 'talkie' draws crowds in Wellington

Moviegoers flocked to see Frank Borzage’s Street angel, a silent picture with a recorded musical soundtrack, at Wellington’s Paramount Theatre. Read more...

Mar

9

Sutherland Falls climbed

1890 Sutherland Falls climbed

Young surveyor William Quill needed only basic climbing equipment, including a billhook and an alpenstock, to scale the side of the ‘great Sutherland waterfall’ which cascades for 580 m near Milford Sound. Read more...

Death of Opo the friendly dolphin

1956 Death of Opo the friendly dolphin

‘Opononi George’ or ‘Opo’ was a young female bottlenose dolphin who warmed the hearts of thousands of people at Opononi in Hokianga Harbour between June 1955 and March 1956. Read more...

Mar

10

New Zealand Cross created

1869 New Zealand Cross created

This medal was created because members of New Zealand's local armed forces were not eligible for the Victoria Cross. Only 23 were awarded, making it one of the rarest military honours in the world. Read more...

Auckland Warriors debut

1995 Auckland Warriors debut

The Auckland Warriors played their first match in the New South Wales Rugby League’s expanded Winfield Cup competition. Read more...

Mar

11

The fall of Kororāreka

1845 The fall of Kororāreka

After hundreds of Ngāpuhi warriors led by Kawiti and Hōne Heke attacked Kororāreka (Russell), its inhabitants were evacuated by sea. For the fourth and last time, the flagstaff on Maiki Hill was cut down. Read more...

New Zealand Freethought Association founded

1884 New Zealand Freethought Association founded

Forty delegates from six regional associations met in Dunedin to adopt a constitution and elect the first officeholders in the new organisation. Read more...

Mar

12

Arthur's Pass 'discovered'

1864 Arthur's Pass 'discovered'

Arthur, George and Edward Dobson were searching for a route between Canterbury and the West Coast that the chief Tarapuhi had told them about. Read more...

New Zealand Red Cross worker killed in Vietnam

1975 New Zealand Red Cross worker killed in Vietnam

Returning from leave in Laos, 30-year-old Malcolm ‘Mac’ Riding was aboard an Air Vietnam DC4 when it crashed 25 km from his Red Cross team’s compound near Pleiku, South Vietnam. Read more...

Mar

13

New Zealand's first test cricket victory

1956 New Zealand's first test cricket victory

New Zealand was already 3–0 down in the series going into the fourth and final test at Eden Park in Auckland. Their West Indies opponents included household names such as Gary Sobers and Everton Weekes, who broke batting records for a New Zealand season. Read more...

Mar

14

Split Enz hit no.1

1980 Split Enz hit no.1

The Kiwi group’s first New Zealand no. 1 hit, from their album True colours, also topped the charts in Australia and Canada. It reached no. 12 in Britain and no. 53 in the United States. Read more...

Mar

15

New Zealand troops riot in England

1919 New Zealand troops riot in England

In the most serious breakdown of discipline in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the European theatre, hundreds of men rioted at Sling Camp on Salisbury Plain. Read more...

New Zealand forces capture Castle Hill at Cassino

1944 New Zealand forces capture Castle Hill at Cassino

The 6th New Zealand Brigade attacked the Italian town of Cassino as part of the Allies advance on Rome. By the time the New Zealand Division was withdrawn in early April, 343 New Zealanders had lost their lives. Read more...

Mar

16

Jockey Y-fronts hit New Zealand shops

1940 Jockey Y-fronts hit New Zealand shops

‘If old-fashioned underwear makes you squirm, switch to Jockey.’ That was message from clothing manufacturer Lane Walker Rudkin when it began marketing the Jockey Y-front to New Zealand men on 16 March 1940. Read more...

NZHistory website launched

1999 NZHistory website launched

NZHistory was launched by the Minister of Internal Affairs, Hon. Jack Elder, at a function at National Archives (now Archives New Zealand) in Wellington on 16 March 1999. Read more...

Mar

17

First Taranaki War erupts at Waitara

1860 First Taranaki War erupts at Waitara

The opening shots of the first Taranaki War were fired when British troops attacked a pā built by Te Āti Awa chief Te Rangitāke at Te Kohia, Waitara. Read more...

Only surviving Maungatautari Bank cheque issued

1905 Only surviving Maungatautari Bank cheque issued

The Maungatautari Bank was one of several set up by Māori in the decades after the New Zealand Wars to handle the money they were receiving from land sales. Read more...

Mar

18

Waitangi Tribunal rules on Motunui claim

1983 Waitangi Tribunal rules on Motunui claim

In a landmark ruling, the Waitangi Tribunal found that the Crown’s obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi included a duty to protect Māori fishing grounds. Read more...

Mar

19

Honey bees brought to New Zealand

1839 Honey bees brought to New Zealand

Mary Bumby, the sister of a Methodist missionary, was probably the first to introduce honey bees to New Zealand. Read more...

Main body of Jayforce lands in Japan

1946 Main body of Jayforce lands in Japan

About 4500 New Zealand servicemen arrived as part of a 40,000-strong British Commonwealth Occupation Force to work alongside United States military forces which had occupied most of Japan. Read more...

Mar

20

New Zealand's first recognised flag chosen

1834 New Zealand's first recognised flag chosen

A New Zealand flag was first suggested in 1830 after Sydney customs officials seized a Hokianga-built ship. Read more...

Mar

21

Kiwis win Oscars for <em>The piano</em>

1994 Kiwis win Oscars for The piano

Eleven-year-old Anna Paquin became the first New Zealander to win an Academy Award for acting when she picked up the best supporting actress award for her role as Flora McGrath in the acclaimed historical drama The piano. She was the second youngest recipient of this award in Oscar history. Read more...

Race Relations Day celebrated for first time

2003 Race Relations Day celebrated for first time

Race Relations Day was first formally celebrated in 2003 with the theme, 'Hands Up for Kiwis of Every Race and Place'. Read more...

Mar

22

George von Zedlitz arrives in Wellington

1902 George von Zedlitz arrives in Wellington

Victoria College’s first professor of modern languages joined the fledgling institution’s four foundation professors. Read more...

Mar

23

Scottish settlers arrive in Otago

1848 Scottish settlers arrive in Otago

Otago celebrates the arrival of the immigrant ship John Wickliffe as the founding day of the province. Read more...

Mar

24

Māori kidnap victim dies on French ship

1770 Māori kidnap victim dies on French ship

Ranginui was a Ngāti Kahu chief from Doubtless Bay who was kidnapped by the French explorer Jean François Marie de Surville. Read more...

Mar

25

Wakefield and Featherston duel

1847 Wakefield and Featherston duel

Isaac Featherston, editor of the Wellington Independent, had in effect accused William Wakefield, the New Zealand Company's principal agent, of being a thief. Neither man was hurt in the duel.

Read more...

John A. Lee expelled from Labour Party

1940 John A. Lee expelled from Labour Party

A charismatic ex-soldier, orator and writer, John A. Lee had been active in the New Zealand Labour Party since shortly after the First World War. Read more...

Mar

26

Brunner mine disaster kills 65

1896 Brunner mine disaster kills 65

At 9.30 a.m. an explosion tore through the Brunner mine in Westland’s Grey Valley. Two men sent underground to investigate were later found unconscious from black damp, a suffocating mixture of nitrogen and carbon dioxide. Read more...

Mar

27

The 'Sallies' come to New Zealand

1883 The 'Sallies' come to New Zealand

Two English Salvation Army officers landed at Port Chalmers to set up a New Zealand branch of the Christian evangelical movement.

Read more...

Trades' Hall bombing

1984 Trades' Hall bombing

Caretaker and unionist Ernie Abbott was killed on 27 March 1984 by a bomb at Trades’ Hall in Wellington’s Vivian St. Read more...

Mar

28

NZ cricketers skittled for 26

1955 NZ cricketers skittled for 26

Bert Sutcliffe top-scored with 11 runs as New Zealand was skittled for the lowest total in test cricket history – a mere 26 runs.  Read more...

Signing of CER agreement strengthens trans-Tasman trade ties

1983 Signing of CER agreement strengthens trans-Tasman trade ties

New Zealand and Australia formally signed the Closer Economic Relations (CER) agreement, strengthening trade ties between the Tasman neighbours. Read more...

Māori Television launched

2004 Māori Television launched

A dawn pōwhiri at Māori Television’s new offices in Newmarket, Auckland, was covered in the first transmission next day. Read more...

Mar

29

Skippers Bridge opened

1901 Skippers Bridge opened

At 96 m long and 91 m high, the suspension bridge over the Shotover River near Queenstown in Central Otago is one of the most spectacular bridges in New Zealand. Read more...

Nazi sabotage hoax

1942 Nazi sabotage hoax

During the Second World War convicted conman Sydney Gordon Ross duped New Zealand’s intelligence service into believing that Nazi agents were planning to carry out sabotage in New Zealand. Read more...

Evangelist Billy Graham arrives for 11-day crusade

1959 Evangelist Billy Graham arrives for 11-day crusade

In the first half of 1959 Billy Graham and his associate evangelists Leighton Ford, Grady Wilson and Joseph Blinco held crusades in New Zealand and Australia which attracted large audiences. Read more...

Mar

30

Funeral procession for Prime Minister Savage

1940 Funeral procession for Prime Minister Savage

New Zealand’s first Labour prime minister, Michael Joseph Savage, died in office on 27 March 1940. His body lay in state at Parliament for two days before his funeral cortège, which was more than 1.6 km long, set off for the railway station at 9 a.m. on 30 March. Read more...

Historian Michael King dies

2004 Historian Michael King dies

Historian Michael King (aged 58) and his wife Maria Jungowska died in a car accident in south Waikato. King’s Penguin history of New Zealand became the most popular book of the year, and was the Readers’ Choice at the 2004 Montana New Zealand Book Awards. Read more...

Mar

31

Rewi's last stand?

1864 Rewi's last stand?

The last battle of the Waikato War began when the spearhead of a strong British force charged an apparently weak Māori position at Ōrākau, south-east of Te Awamutu. After two frontal assaults failed, the British besieged the pā. Read more...

Hocken Library opened at Otago Museum

1910 Hocken Library opened at Otago Museum

Thomas Hocken’s priceless legacy of historical material is the most important collection outside Crown ownership in New Zealand. Read more...

Fred Ladd flies under Auckland Harbour Bridge

1967 Fred Ladd flies under Auckland Harbour Bridge

Well-known Auckland aviator Fred Ladd illegally flew his Widgeon amphibian aircraft under the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Read more...