Events In History


Rail tourism

  • Rail tourism

    From the late 19th century the expanding rail network opened up exciting leisure and tourism opportunities for ordinary New Zealand families. New Zealand Railways promoted rail holidays through bright, attractive posters and its own popular monthly magazine.

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  • Page 2 – Day excursions

    From the early days of rail, excursion and special trains gave people new opportunities to visit beaches, lakes, parks, racecourses and shows.

  • Page 3 – Holidaymakers

    As well as day excursions, from the mid-1890s New Zealand Railways offered special deals for travellers taking longer rail journeys over the Christmas and Easter holiday

  • Page 4 – Railways Studios

    In 1920 New Zealand Railways established it own Railways Studios – the country’s first outdoor advertising studio. The studios produced posters, pamphlets, maps and

  • Page 5 – Railways Magazine

    During the inter-war years no other monthly magazine matched New Zealand Railways for its commitment to promoting a popular literary culture in New Zealand.

  • Page 6 – Post-war changes

    After the peak years of the 1920s and late 1930s, tourist travel all but ceased during the Second World War.

Erebus disaster

  • Erebus disaster

    On 28 November 1979, 237 passengers and 20 crew were killed when Air New Zealand Flight TE901 crashed into Mt Erebus, Antarctica. The tragedy was followed by a demanding recovery operation and a raging debate over who or what was to blame

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  • Page 3 – Timeline to disaster

    The Erebus disaster was mainly caused by a late change in the flight path and atmospheric conditions over Antarctica

New Zealand and Le Quesnoy

  • New Zealand and Le Quesnoy

    It was the New Zealand Division's final action of the First World War. On 4 November 1918, just a week before the Armistice was signed, New Zealand troops stormed the walled French town of Le Quesnoy. The 90 men killed were among the last of the 12,483 who fell on the Western Front.

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  • Page 3 - Visiting Le QuesnoyJust 4 kilometres east of Beaudignies in northern France is Le Quesnoy. This town was in German hands for almost all of the First World War, from August 1914, until the New

Scenery preservation 1903-1953

  • Scenery preservation 1903-1953

    Premier Richard Seddon outlined his vision for 'God's own country' in 1903 as he steered the Scenery Preservation Act through Parliament. This act was an important landmark in preserving New Zealand's natural and historic heritage.

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  • Page 3 - Beautiful New ZealandEven before systematic colonisation began in 1840, New Zealand had been promoted in British publications as a wild, scenic, romantic wonderland – and a place of

Life in the 20th century

  • Life in the 20th century

    Exploration of everyday life in New Zealand from 1900 to the mid-1980s

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  • Page 3 - Time outAs a modern society began to evolve in New Zealand in the early twentieth century, a new concept of 'leisure time' began to emerge

The North Island main trunk line

  • The North Island main trunk line

    All aboard! The North Island main trunk railway was 100 years old in 2008. Take a trip back in time to explore the epic story of its construction, the heyday of the steam passenger train and the place of the iconic railway refreshment room in New Zealand life.

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  • Page 4 - Travelling by trainFor most second-class travellers, travelling the main trunk meant a long, sleepless journey on hard-backed seats, struggling to find 'elusive comfort with the NZR


  • Hinerangi, Sophia

    Best known as ‘Guide Sophia’ she was the principal tourist guide of the famous Pink and White Terraces at Lake Rotomahana.