Tangiwai disaster

  • Tangiwai disaster

    New Zealand's worst railway disaster occurred 60 years ago on Christmas Eve 1953, when the Wellington–Auckland night express plunged into the swollen Whangaehu River near Tangiwai. Of the 285 people on board, 151 were killed. The tragedy stunned the world and left a nation in mourning.

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  • Page 4 - Dealing with the deadIdentifying victims is a major task following any mass tragedy. A number of circumstances made this process particularly difficult at

Situated in a basin, Karori (which means ‘the rope of bird snares’) was renowned for its birdlife. Europeans settled there in the 1840s. In 1854 it became the site of Wellington’s Lunatic Asylum. In 1891 the Karori Cemetery opened, replacing the Bolton Street Cemetery. In 1909 a crematorium was built at Karori – the first in the southern hemisphere. Colonial Karori is described in several stories by Katherine Mansfield, whose family moved there in 1893 from Thorndon. At that time the suburb was difficult to reach. The Karori Tunnel (1900) made access easier, and by 1907 trams ran to Nottingham Street. Karori continued to grow. By the 1960s, it was one of New Zealand’s biggest suburbs.

Meaning of place name
Means ‘the rope of bird snares’.