Month Calendar View

Historic NZ events in April

Apr

1

TEAL becomes Air New Zealand

1965 TEAL becomes Air New Zealand

New Zealand’s international airline, Tasman Empire Airways Limited (TEAL), was renamed Air New Zealand Limited. Read more...

ACC comes into operation

1974 ACC comes into operation

In 1972 government legislation established the Accident Compensation Commission (ACC) to provide insurance for all personal injury. Read more...

Thermal insulation required in NZ homes

1978 Thermal insulation required in NZ homes

Early European-style timber frame construction was not as effective as traditional Māori methods at keeping the heat in buildings. Specified levels of thermal insulation were not required by law until 1978. Read more...

New Zealand Film Archive launched

1981 New Zealand Film Archive launched

The New Zealand Film Archive has grown considerably since it shared Wellington premises with the New Zealand Federation of Film Societies. Read more...

State-owned enterprises are born

1987 State-owned enterprises are born

The State-Owned Enterprises Act heralded a major overhaul of the public sector and was a key part of the strategy of economic liberalisation known as 'Rogernomics'. Read more...

Apr

2

Anzac soldiers riot in Cairo's Wazzir brothel district

1915 Anzac soldiers riot in Cairo's Wazzir brothel district

On Good Friday about 2500 New Zealand and Australian troops rioted in the Haret Al Wassir red-light district of Cairo's Ezbekieh Quarter. Read more...

Arrest of Rua Kēnana

1916 Arrest of Rua Kēnana

On Sunday 2 April 1916, 57 police raided the Ngāi Tūhoe settlement of Maungapōhatu in the Urewera Ranges. Read more...

Apr

3

Battle of Manners Street

1943 Battle of Manners Street

Hundreds of soldiers and civilians slugged it out on the streets of Wellington during the ‘Battle of Manners St’, the most infamous clash between New Zealanders and American servicemen during the Second World War. Read more...

Apr

4

Silvia Cartwright becomes governor-general

2001 Silvia Cartwright becomes governor-general

The swearing-in of Dame Silvia Cartwright as New Zealand’s 18th governor-general completed a female clean sweep of the country’s most powerful political and legal positions. Read more...

Apr

5

NZ's first overseas diplomatic post created

1871 NZ's first overseas diplomatic post created

New Zealand’s first overseas diplomatic post was created when Isaac Featherston was appointed as agent-general in London. Read more...

Death of Phar Lap

1932 Death of Phar Lap

The champion racehorse Phar Lap was New Zealand-born and bred, but never raced in this country. He won 37 of his 51 races and 32 of his last 35, including the 1930 Melbourne Cup. In the gloom of the great Depression, Phar Lap’s exploits thrilled two countries. Read more...

Apr

6

NZ (Māori) Pioneer Battalion returns from war

1919 NZ (Māori) Pioneer Battalion returns from war

The all-Māori Pioneer Battalion was one of only two New Zealand Expeditionary Force formations – and the only battalion – to return from the First World War as a complete unit. Read more...

Pai Mārire ambush in Taranaki

1864 Pai Mārire ambush in Taranaki

A British patrol was ambushed by Pai Mārire warriors near Ōakura. The heads of the seven men killed were taken around the North Island by Pai Mārire disciples to encourage enlistment in the movement. Read more...

Apr

7

First state secondary school opens

1856 First state secondary school opens

The first state secondary school in New Zealand, Nelson College, opened in temporary premises in Trafalgar St with a roll of just eight boys. It eventually attracted boys from around the country as well as the local area. It now has a roll of over 1000 and continues to take both boarders and day pupils. Read more...

Apr

8

Julius Vogel becomes premier

1873 Julius Vogel becomes premier

Julius Vogel was the dominant political figure of the 1870s, serving as colonial treasurer and premier on several occasions, and launching a massive programme of immigration and public works. Read more...

Apr

9

Unemployed disturbances in Dunedin

1932 Unemployed disturbances in Dunedin

During the 'angry autumn' of 1932, in the depths of the Great Depression, unemployed workers in Dunedin reacted angrily when the Hospital Board refused to assist them. Read more...

Sisters of Mercy arrive in New Zealand

1850 Sisters of Mercy arrive in New Zealand

Nine Sisters of Mercy arrived in Auckland on the Oceanie with Bishop Pompallier and a number of priests. Read more...

Apr

10

New Zealand votes for prohibition – until soldiers’ votes are counted

1919 New Zealand votes for prohibition – until soldiers’ votes are counted

A special liquor referendum initially gave prohibition a majority of 13,000 over continuance (the status quo), raising the hopes of those who had for decades campaigned against the manufacture and sale of alcohol. Read more...

<em>Wahine</em> wrecked in Wellington Harbour

1968 Wahine wrecked in Wellington Harbour

The sinking of the Lyttelton–Wellington ferry Wahine is New Zealand’s worst modern maritime disaster. Fifty-one people lost their lives that day, another died several weeks later and a 53rd victim died in 1990 from injuries sustained in the wreck.

Read more...

Labour government cancels Springbok rugby tour

1973 Labour government cancels Springbok rugby tour

Following police warnings of civil strife, Prime Minister Norman Kirk informed the New Zealand Rugby Football Union that the government saw ‘no alternative’ to a 'postponement' of the planned tour by the South African Springboks. Read more...

Apr

11

New Zealand's first royal visit

1869 New Zealand's first royal visit

The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Alfred Ernest Albert, arrived in Wellington as captain of the frigate HMS Galatea. The first member of the British royal family to visit New Zealand, he was greeted with haka, speeches and bunting. Read more...

Arrival of the NZ Division in France

1916 Arrival of the NZ Division in France

The Minnewaska, a troopship carrying the headquarters of the recently formed New Zealand Division, arrived in Marseilles, France Read more...

Apr

12

Railway accident in South Africa kills 16 New Zealand soldiers

1902 Railway accident in South Africa kills 16 New Zealand soldiers

Sixteen members of the Eighth New Zealand Contingent were killed when their train collided with a goods train at Machavie (Machavierug), near Potchefstroom in Transvaal.

Read more...

HMS <em>New Zealand</em> begins tour of nation’s ports

1913 HMS New Zealand begins tour of nation’s ports

The Royal Navy battlecruiser HMS New Zealand arrived in Wellington as part of a 10-week tour during which an estimated 500,000 New Zealanders inspected the vessel. Read more...

Apr

13

National Council of Women formed

1896 National Council of Women formed

Three years after New Zealand became the first self-governing country in which all women could vote, representatives of 11 women’s groups met in Christchurch’s Provincial Council Buildings to form the National Council of Women (NCW). Read more...

Apr

14

Unemployed riot rocks Queen St

1932 Unemployed riot rocks Queen St

Auckland’s Queen St riot was by far the most destructive of the disturbances that rocked the four main centres in the ‘angry autumn’ of 1932. Read more...

Apr

15

First sod dug for North Island main trunk

1885 First sod dug for North Island main trunk

Politicians and Māori leaders ceremonially turned the ‘first sod’ of the central section of the main trunk line – a project that would take 23 years to complete. Read more...

First Māori MPs elected to Parliament

1868 First Māori MPs elected to Parliament

The Maori Representation Act 1867 established four Māori seats in the House of Representatives, initially for a period of five years. The act gave the vote to all Māori males aged 21 and over. Read more...

Mangatepopo canyoning disaster

2008 Mangatepopo canyoning disaster

Six students and a teacher from Elim College died in a flash flood while canyoning in the Mangatepopo Stream, Tongariro National Park.

Read more...

Apr

16

NZ Rugby Football Union founded

1892 NZ Rugby Football Union founded

As rugby increased in popularity, it became more important to standardise the administration of the game in the colony. Despite some opposition, a New Zealand Rugby Football Union was founded.

Read more...

News of <em>Titanic</em> sinking reaches NZ

1912 News of Titanic sinking reaches NZ

Although no New Zealanders were aboard the world’s largest passenger ship when it sank in the chilly North Atlantic with appalling loss of life due to a lack of lifeboats, the country followed the news closely. Read more...

Arthur Allan Thomas convicted of Crewe murders – again

1973 Arthur Allan Thomas convicted of Crewe murders – again

Waikato farmer Arthur Allan Thomas was found guilty – for the second time – of the 1970 murder of his neighbours Harvey and Jeanette Crewe at Pukekawa.

Read more...

Apr

17

<em>General Gates</em> sent to Sydney under guard

1820 General Gates sent to Sydney under guard

The American sealer General Gates – named for a War of Independence general and commanded by Captain Abimileck Riggs – had sailed from Boston in October 1818. Read more...

First inter-city brass band contest

1880 First inter-city brass band contest

About 2500 people attended the first inter-city brass band competition in the Christchurch Drill Hall. The inaugural winners were the Invercargill Garrison Band. Read more...

Apr

18

Samuel Revans prints first newspaper

1840 Samuel Revans prints first newspaper

The first newspapers published in New Zealand rolled off Samuel Revans’ printing press a month after his arrival at Port Nicholson (Wellington). Read more...

Gilfillan killings near Whanganui

1847 Gilfillan killings near Whanganui

A Māori raid on the Gilfillan farm at Matarawa, just east of Whanganui, left four members of the family dead. The artist John Gilfillan and one of his daughters were severely wounded. Read more...

Apr

19

First royal honour for New Zealand woman

1884 First royal honour for New Zealand woman

The Royal Red Cross was awarded to Miss Alice Crisp, matron of Auckland Hospital, in a ceremony at Government House, Auckland.

Read more...

State buys Cheviot Estate

1893 State buys Cheviot Estate

In the 1890s the Liberal government, especially Minister of Lands John McKenzie, were determined to ‘burst up’ large estates for settlement by prospective small farmers, who were among its key supporters. The first property purchased under this policy was the 34,300-ha Cheviot Estate in North Canterbury. Read more...

Dave McKenzie wins the Boston Marathon

1967 Dave McKenzie wins the Boston Marathon

The 24-year-old McKenzie set a new course record of 2 hours 15 minutes 45 seconds in finishing ahead of American Tom Laris and Yutaka Aoki of Japan. He was the first New Zealander to win the Boston Marathon. Read more...

Apr

20

Mormon temple opens in Hamilton

1958 Mormon temple opens in Hamilton

This was the first temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the southern hemisphere.

Read more...

Allison Roe wins Boston marathon

1981 Allison Roe wins Boston marathon

1981 was a memorable year for Allison Roe. In April she became the first New Zealand woman to win the prestigious Boston race, burning off American star Patti Catalano and taking nearly eight minutes off the course record for the 42.2 km course, running 2 hours 26 minutes 46 seconds.

Read more...

Apr

21

First Golden Shears competition

1961 First Golden Shears competition

First held at the Masterton War Memorial Stadium in 1961, the Golden Shears competition has become the iconic event for the shearing and wool-handling industry in New Zealand. Read more...

Court Theatre stages first play

1971 Court Theatre stages first play

It was opening night for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie in Christchurch’s Provincial Council buildings. Read more...

Apr

22

Rātana and Labour seal alliance

1936 Rātana and Labour seal alliance

The alliance between the Rātana Church and the Labour Party was cemented at an historic meeting between Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana and Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage. Read more...

Apr

23

Blair Peach killed in London

1979 Blair Peach killed in London

New Zealander Blair Peach died during a clash between police and protesters at a 1979 anti-fascism rally in Southall, London. Read more...

Prince William meets 'buzzy bee'

1983 Prince William meets 'buzzy bee'

Among the highlights of the April 1983 royal tour were photographs of the Prince and Princess of Wales’ infant son, Prince William, playing with New Zealand’s iconic ‘buzzy bee’ toy. Read more...

Apr

24

Prince of Wales arrives for New Zealand tour

1920 Prince of Wales arrives for New Zealand tour

King George V’s son, Edward, Prince of Wales (who later reigned briefly as Edward VIII), visited New Zealand partly to thank the Dominion for its contribution to the Empire’s war effort. Read more...

New Zealand's first poppy day

1922 New Zealand's first poppy day

A total of 245,059 small poppies and 15,157 larger versions were sold, earning £13,166. Of that amount, £3,695 was sent to help war-ravaged areas of northern France; the remainder went to unemployed returned soldiers and their families. Read more...

Sinking of the <em>Hellas</em>

1941 Sinking of the Hellas

Disaster struck during the hurried evacuation of Allied forces from Greece when a large number of civilians and Commonwealth troops, including New Zealanders, were killed while they were boarding the Greek yacht Hellas at the port of Piraeus, near Athens. Read more...

First New Zealander killed in battle in Korean War

1951 First New Zealander killed in battle in Korean War

Kayforce suffered its first fatal battle casualty with the death of Second Lieutenant Dennis Fielden. Read more...

Apr

25

Gallipoli landings

1915 Gallipoli landings

Each year on Anzac Day, New Zealanders (and Australians) mark the anniversary of the Gallipoli landings of 25 April 1915. Read more...

First Anzac Day

1916 First Anzac Day

Communities across New Zealand and overseas gathered to commemorate the first anniversary of the Gallipoli landings. Read more...

New Zealand medics start work in South Vietnam

1963 New Zealand medics start work in South Vietnam

On Anzac Day 1963, a six-strong New Zealand civilian surgical team arrived in Qui Nhon, South Vietnam as part of the Colombo Plan assistance programme. Their deployment marked the beginning of New Zealand’s involvement in the Vietnam War. Read more...

Apr

26

New Zealand ship torpedoed in Tasman Sea

1943 New Zealand ship torpedoed in Tasman Sea

Like many New Zealand merchant ships, the Union Steam Ship Company freighter Limerick undertook military missions during the Second World War, carrying munitions, food and equipment between New Zealand, Australia, North America and the Middle East.

Read more...

Death of John Mulgan

1945 Death of John Mulgan

At the time of his suicide in Cairo, many New Zealanders knew little of the Christchurch-born author of Man alone Read more...

Civil unions come into effect

2005 Civil unions come into effect

Couples − heterosexual or homosexual − were now able to register their relationship as a civil union. All couples in New Zealand, whether married, in a civil union, or in a de facto partnership now had equal legal rights and obligations.

Read more...

Apr

27

Moehanga becomes first Māori to visit England

1806 Moehanga becomes first Māori to visit England

Moehanga of Ngāpuhi became the first recorded Māori visitor to England when the whaler Ferret berthed in London. Moehanga (or Te Mahanga) had boarded the Ferret  when it visited the Bay of Islands late in 1805.

Read more...

Death of Premier John Ballance

1893 Death of Premier John Ballance

Ballance was the first Liberal premier. He laid the foundation for a government that was widely seen as making New Zealand ‘the social laboratory of the world’. Read more...

Apr

28

Jack Hinton awarded the Victoria Cross

1941 Jack Hinton awarded the Victoria Cross

Southlander Jack Hinton was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on the night of 28 April 1941 at Kalamata during the evacuation from Greece.

Read more...

First British rugby tourists take the field

1888 First British rugby tourists take the field

The first British rugby team to tour New Zealand played its first match, against Otago, at Dunedin’s Caledonian Ground in front of 10,000 spectators. Read more...

Apr

29

Assault on Gate Pā

1864 Assault on Gate Pā

The British attacked the Ngāi Te Rangi stronghold of Pukehinahina (Gate Pā), defended by just 230 warriors, after a heavy artillery bombardment.

Read more...

131 perish in worst civilian shipwreck in New Zealand waters

1881 131 perish in worst civilian shipwreck in New Zealand waters

The steamer Tararua, en route from Port Chalmers to Melbourne, struck a reef at Waipapa Point, Southland. Of the 151 passengers and crew on board, 131 were lost, including 12 women and 14 children. Read more...

ANZUS treaty comes into force

1952 ANZUS treaty comes into force

Signed by Australia, New Zealand and the United States, the ANZUS treaty recognised that an armed attack in the Pacific area on one member would endanger the peace and safety of the others.

Read more...

Apr

30

Pai Mārire defeated at Sentry Hill, Taranaki

1864 Pai Mārire defeated at Sentry Hill, Taranaki

In one of their first military operations, several hundred Pai Mārire warriors attacked a British redoubt at Te Mōrere (Sentry Hill) in Taranaki. Scores were killed and wounded.

Read more...

Ex-Governor FitzRoy commits suicide

1865 Ex-Governor FitzRoy commits suicide

Robert FitzRoy, the second governor of New Zealand (1843-45), took his own life at his home in Surrey. Opinion on his governorship has always been divided. Read more...

William Sanders wins New Zealand's only naval VC

1917 William Sanders wins New Zealand's only naval VC

William Sanders received the Victoria Cross (VC) for bravery during a German U-boat (submarine) attack on his ship. He became the first – and only – New Zealander to win the British Empire’s highest military decoration in a naval action. Read more...