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Historic NZ events in June


Broadcast from Shortland St in central Auckland, New Zealand’s first official television transmission began at 7.30 p.m.


The steamer Wairuna, en route from Auckland to San Francisco, was captured by the German raider Wolf and later sunk near the Kermadec Islands. The crew of 42 was taken prisoner.


In 1958 Bruce McLaren was the first recipient of the Driver to Europe award, which enabled promising Kiwis to race against the world’s best.


Governor George Bowen gave his assent to the Otago Provincial Council’s University of Otago Ordinance, enabling the establishment of New Zealand’s first university.


The legendary All Black lock was a physically tough, uncompromising player. Rugby writer Lindsay Knight described Colin Meads as New Zealand's equivalent of Australia's Sir Donald Bradman or American Babe Ruth as a sporting legend.


Calls for policewomen had been made since the 1930s, when the National Council of Women started lobbying for women officers.


The Cromwell–Dunedin express, travelling at speed, derailed while rounding a curve near Hyde in Central Otago.


The future prophet and military leader was deported to the Chatham Islands with Pai Mārire prisoners. He had been accused of spying for the enemy while fighting alongside government troops.


The New Zealand Banking Company, Auckland’s first bank, had been wound up two years earlier.


Samuel Leigh and William White established Wesleydale, a Wesleyan (Methodist) mission station at Kaeo. Leigh was friendly with Samuel Marsden of the Church Missionary Society and the two missions worked closely together.


Commissioned by Genesis Energy, New Zealand’s first commercial wind farm opened in the windy hills of Wairarapa.


A local Rotary club was established at a luncheon in Wellington’s YMCA, with Alexander Roberts elected as the first president.


The Battle of Messines was a prelude to the much larger Third Battle of Ypres, better known as Passchendaele. New Zealanders played a prominent role in the successful action at Messines but paid a heavy price: 3700 casualties, including 700 dead.


The golden arches appeared for the first time in New Zealand at Cobham Court, Porirua.


The Hastings-born pilot's exploits flying Hurricanes for the Royal Air Force’s No. 73 Squadron in the first year of the Second World War made him a household name.


The New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act was passed into law, establishing this country as a nuclear and biological weapon-free zone.


Prime Minister Sir Joseph Ward opened the Public Trust Office Building in Lambton Quay, Wellington. The occasion was marked by a lunchtime banquet and a concert and dance that evening


Ngā Ruahine fighters led by Riwha Tītokowaru killed three Pākehā settlers near Ketemarae, north of Hāwera, signalling the resumption of fighting in south Taranaki.


The first New Zealand kindergarten to educate children, in Dunedin, was based on the ideas of the German educationalist Friedrich Froebel.

Known as 'King Dick', Seddon had dominated New Zealand politics since the early 1890s. His Liberal government established the tradition of state-supported welfare in this country.

The eruption lasted six hours and caused massive destruction. It destroyed several villages, along with the famous silica hot springs known as the Pink and White Terraces. Approximately 120 people, nearly all Māori, died.


At a civic reception for the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York, John Logan Campbell handed over the deed to land around One Tree Hill/Maungakiekie. The new park was named in honour of the royal couple.


The New Zealand blue ensign that had been adopted for use on government ships in 1869 was proclaimed as ‘the recognised flag of the colony'


Over the following two years, about 100,000 American servicemen would spend time in New Zealand, which became a rear base for the Allies’ counter-offensive against Japan.


The murder of five men on the Maungatapu track, south-east of Nelson, in June 1866 shocked the colony.


Prime Minister Robert Muldoon surprised many by announcing a ‘snap’ election to be held in exactly one month’s time.


The prominent produce company Turners and Growers announced that it would from now on export Chinese gooseberries under the name 'kiwifruit'. First grown here in 1906, kiwifruit are now cultivated worldwide, with New Zealand-grown fruit marketed as 'Zespri'.


The Ivy League Princeton University hosted an annual elite mile race during the 1930s. New Zealand medical student Jack Lovelock, who had set a world record there in 1933, was invited to return in 1935 to run in what became known as the ‘Mile of the Century’.


The Polynesian Panther Party was founded in Auckland by six young Pacific Islanders: Paul Dapp, Will ’Ilolahia, Vaughan Sanft, Fred Schmidt, Nooroa Teavae and Eddie Williams. The group included Samoans, Tongans, Cook Islanders, and a few Māori.


A generation after the hanging of the infamous Minnie Dean, the murder trial of Daniel and Martha Cooper revealed that ‘baby farming’ and illegal abortion were still regarded as solutions to the problem of unwanted children in New Zealand.

Four Māori and 22 Europeans were killed in the first violent clash between Māori and Pākehā since the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

The Aucklander, a well-connected former model, had left Spirits Bay in the Far North on 3 December to walk the length of the country to promote New Zealand-made goods during the Depression. She had government patronage and support from the Manufacturers’ Federation.


The first game of football in New Zealand played under Rugby rules may have been a match between Whanganui Town and Countr at suburban Aramoho on Saturday 19 June 1869


The Second World War arrived in New Zealand with a bang when German mines sank the trans-Pacific liner Niagara off Northland’s Bream Head.


Ten United States Navy personnel drowned off the Kāpiti Coast, north of Wellington, during a training exercise in bad weather.

With Michael Jones, John Kirwan and David Kirk scoring tries, the All Blacks defeated France 29–9 at Eden Park, Auckland. Kirk became the first captain to lift the Webb Ellis Cup.

At Te Ranga the British sought revenge for their humiliating defeat at the battle of Gate Pā


Beatlemania hit New Zealand when 7000 hysterical fans greeted the Fab Four in Wellington during their ‘Far East’ tour. After concerts in the United States, Europe, Hong Kong and Australia, the lads from Liverpool touched down in New Zealand.


Armed with a brick in a stocking, 16-year-old Pauline Parker and her best friend Juliet Hulme, 15, became two of New Zealand's most notorious female murderers when they killed Pauline's mother, Honorah, in Victoria Park, Christchurch.


As claimant to the Ross Dependency, New Zealand took part in a 1959 conference in Washington DC about the political and international status of Antarctica. The resulting Antarctic Treaty was agreed to by the 12 participating states.

The ruling by the International Court of Justice was part of New Zealand's long campaign to end French nuclear testing in the Pacific. The French ignored the court's injunction to cease testing.
At its peak in the 1950s and 1960s, New Zealand Truth prided itself on being ‘the champion of the little person and the scourge of corruption and scandal in high places’.

The Prostitution Reform Act was passed on a tumultuous night in Parliament, with the public galleries filled with supporters from both sides.

The Māori King movement came into existence in the late 1850s as an attempt to unite the tribes, prevent land sales and make laws for Māori. Pōtatau Te Wherowhero became the first Māori King in 1858, but died two years later.

The speed skier and bungy pioneer planned the 110-m leap meticulously. His dozen-strong team hid on the tower overnight and Hackett jumped at dawn. He described it as ‘one small step for a man, a bloody great leap for the adventure tourism industry.’


The steamer Wimmera, bound from Auckland to Sydney, struck a mine laid north of Cape Maria van Diemen in 1917 by the German raider Wolf. Twenty-six of its 151 passengers and crew were lost.


Māori and Pākehā from around the country converged on Manukorihi Pā in Waitara, Taranaki, to attend the unveiling of a memorial to ‘one of New Zealand’s greatest men’, Sir Māui Pōmare.


'Yesterday was just the beginning of my life' topped the New Zealand music charts for three weeks. Williams successfully combined soul and pop with an image that merged glam rock with disco.

The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife Sophie in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914 eventually led to the outbreak of the First World War.

Prime Minister Norman Kirk told the 242 crew of HMNZS Otago that their Mururoa mission was an ‘honourable’ one – they were to be a ‘silent accusing witness with the power to bring alive the conscience of the world’.


Alexander Turnbull’s ‘most generous bequest to the people of New Zealand’ was officially opened at the bottom of Bowen St in Wellington.


Bill Massey’s was the 17th signature on the treaty, the implementation of which formally ended the war between the Allies and Germany.


Elizabeth Robinson of Christchurch was the first woman to register as a pharmacist under a registration system established by the Pharmacy Act 1880.


No human lives but many irreplaceable government records were lost when the steamer was wrecked on the Wairarapa coast


Dr Penny Jamieson’s rise through church ranks was rapid. The first women were ordained to the Anglican priesthood in New Zealand in 1977. Jamieson was ordained and appointed to a Wellington parish in 1985.


The New Zealand Listener soon expanded beyond its original brief to publicise radio programmes to become the country’s only national weekly current affairs and entertainment magazine.