The 1960s

Page 10 – 1967 - key events

Explosion at Strongman coal mine

Nineteen men were killed when an explosion ripped through the Strongman Mine at Rūnanga, near Greymouth, on the morning of 19 January. An investigation later concluded that safety regulations had not been followed and that the shot had been incorrectly fired. An even greater death toll would have resulted if the fireball that followed the explosion had not hit a wet patch which extinguished it.

New Zealand adopts decimal currency

In a drawn-out and sometimes bitter competition, James Berry's designs for the decimal coinage won overwhelming support in a nationwide newspaper poll in 1966. They were subsequently approved by the Royal Mint and issued in 1967.

The introduction of decimal currency on 10 July saw New Zealanders dispense with pounds, shillings and pence in favour of dollars and cents. The names 'kiwi' and 'zeal' were among those considered for the new currency, but in the end ‘dollar’ was selected.

The end of the 'six o'clock swill'

Six p.m. closing for pubs had been introduced as a temporary wartime measure in 1917 before being made permanent the following year. The term 'six o'clock swill' referred to the practice where patrons aimed to get their fill of beer before closing time. Essentially two generations of Kiwi men learnt to drink as fast as possible, contributing to a binge-drinking culture.

Kiwi wins Formula One championship

A third-place finish at the Mexico Grand Prix on 22 October was enough for Te Puke’s Denny Hulme to claim the F1 championship for the Brabham team. Victories at Monte Carlo and in Germany, backed up by a string of strong points finishes, gave Hulme a five-point advantage over his team boss Jack Brabham. Another Kiwi, Chris Amon, finished fourth in the championship.

In 1968 Hulme moved to the McLaren team, owned by fellow Kiwi Bruce McLaren. Despite victories in Italy and Canada, Hulme was unable to defend his title and finished third in the overall standings. Hulme remains New Zealand’s only Formula One world champion.

Other events of 1967

  • In February the school milk scheme came to an end. It had been in place since 1937 and was part of the first Labour government’s plans to boost the health and welfare of New Zealand children.
  • Arthur Porritt became the first New Zealand-born Governor-General. He had represented New Zealand at the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris where he won bronze in the 100 metres, a race later made famous in the movie Chariots of Fire.
  • Mr Lee Grant won the Loxene Golden Disc Award for Thanks To You. These awards were the forerunner of today’s Tui Awards or New Zealand Music Awards.
  • The issue of sporting ties with South Africa reared its head once more as the New Zealand Rugby Union canceled the proposed 1967 tour to the Republic.
  • In a case that attracted worldwide attention, Lloyd Geering, Professor of Old Testament Studies and Principal of Knox College, Dunedin, was acquitted on charges of ‘doctrinal error and disturbing the peace and unity of the (Presbyterian) church’.
  • Following the slump in the export price for wool, unemployment jumped from just over 200 to nearly 4500.

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'1967 - key events', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 25-Jul-2017

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