Brynderwyn bus disaster memorial

Brynderwyn bus disaster memorial

Memorial to the 15 victims of a bus crash at Brynderwyn, between Whangārei and Wellsford, on 7 February 1963. The memorial stone was unveiled on 7 February 2003 by descendants of those who had died.

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Translation of the plaque above:

He whakamaharatanga tēnei mō te matenga hinepōuri o ngā tūpuna i te 7 o Pepuere 1963.
This is a memorial to the tragic deaths of our loved ones on 7 February 1963.

He pahi aituā i taka i konei i te hokinga mai i te rā whakahirahira o te Tirīti o Waitangi
In an accident a bus fell here on the return from attending Waitangi Day.

Kei raro iho ngā rārangi ingoa
The names of those who died are listed below [see next image].

Huraina tēnei kōhatu i te 7 o Pepuere 2003 Nā ngā uri whakatipu
This stone was unveiled on 7 February 2003 by the descendants of those who died.

I ngā ringaringa o Ihoa koutou e moe
You now slumber in the arms of the Lord.

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Community contributions

15 comments have been posted about Brynderwyn bus disaster memorial

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Posted: 21 Jul 2023

My mother was a survivor of this horrendous accident. She was not expected to live her 1st cousin dove on top of her which ultimately saved my mum however her 1st cousin died.

I was 6 months old apparently they found a babies bottle as my mum had my bag. This accident robbed me of bonding with my mother she went in and out of mental hospitals as there was no support back then.
I had a very mental upbringing watching my mum have breakdowns was not great.

That accident affected our whole family as 4 generations of our family was wiped out. My great grandmother died and many of my aunts and uncles were injured.

There was no compensation for any of them and they all suffered mentally, some turned to drugs and alcohol just to cope and still do to this day.

That accident affected my life big time

K T Mohi

Posted: 28 Apr 2017

Kia Ora nd arohamai to all this crash has left an impact on. My grandfather Ben Kingi died in this crash , he was a Ratana minister nd a loving dad.. Sadly this is all I will know of him besides his handsome photos nd recollections from my mum as a 4 year old . she had a vivid memory of her dad nd even said were the best 4yrs of her life was with her daddy, the day he went on the trip she said she cried for him to stay home nd was the youngest of 7 , I attended The ceremony in 2003 with my mum and Aunty's, was a touching experience nd stop every time I travel to kerikeri to visit my mum nd grandfathers grave nd tell my kids the history.

frank tahere rickit

Posted: 14 Feb 2017

I lived at rewiti with my auntie and uncle the fentons and attended woodhill school I was nine years old at the time, to this day I will never forget the outpouring of grief or the terrible wailing at the marae it will stay with me til I die......r.i.p.


Posted: 25 May 2015

My name is Gerald Cunningham. My family and I were the first on the scene of this terrible accident in 1963. We were returning to Auckland from a camping holiday at Haruru Falls and following a bus down the Brynderwyns when all of a sudden the bus disappeared. I remember being quite shocked as we had no idea the bus was in trouble. It was there in front of us one minute and gone the next. My father Gordon Cuuningham knew something was wrong and drove up the metal farm road to what was a scene of carnage. The bus was unrecognisable as a bus and the passengers were in a heap on the ground right beside it. There was very little movement and the only movement I remember initially was a man with a badly cut throat wandering around in a daze. My father served in Greece and Crete during WW11 and he later said he had never seen such carnage. My mother Margaret Cunningham was a former nurse but there was very little we could do for the injured. We had tents in the car and quickly erected a tent to shelter the injured from the sun. We also used most of our bedding to wrap the injured in and try to make them comfortable. There was little more that we could do for the injured before ambulances eventually arrived. Obviously there were horrific scenes but these were mainly ignored and we were bent on removing the living from among the dead and looking after them until help could arrive.


Posted: 14 May 2015

My name is jason Nathan sun of James Nathan sun of Steve Nathan I remember that day the local policeman came to the farm house where we lived in Raetihi and he popped his head through the window and said Jim I got some sad news your dad's just died in a bus crash dad told me to go outside and play boy I did he carried on talking to the police. I went down to the bush to play as I was wondering through the bush I found a large old white morpork laying dead on the forest floor it was a awesome bird .I brushed the pine needles apart made a hole put the bird in an covered it up sayed by it till dark then went home. For tea dad was still in his room he was ill for days could not get to his dads funeral. Really sad time.

Tan Turoa

Posted: 04 Feb 2013

There will be an acknowledgement/service/ gathering of all who were touched in some way by this tradgedy, at the Brynderwyn memorial site this Wednesday 6th February.
This is to commorate the 50years since the tragedy.
For more information contact Ngawai Beazley

1993 Brynderwyn Committee Member


Posted: 01 Feb 2013

Kia Ora Whanau
Ko Samm Kidwell toku ingoa
Ko Tauwahre toku maunga
Ko Whiti Te Ra toku marae
Ko Waipatukahu toku awa
Ko Ngati Whatua toku iwi
Ko Roy James Kidwell toku papa
Ko Ruth toku mama
I am 17yrs old and 1 of 3 daughters of Roy James Kidwell and a grandchild to Nana Levia and Popa Lance also i am a name sake of my dad's sisters who he tragically lost in the Brynderwyn accident and also tragic lost of his mum Levia. Every year it rolls round my dad tells us the story so we understand what happened also my dad's 2 brothers were on the bus Pute & Byron Kidwell who survived the accident it is very sad & touching for my family every year for my Kidwell side especially. I was born when it happen but my dad always reminds me how i was name sake of his sisters.. this yr is 50yrs for the accident and will be a day for my whanau to grieve for our loved ones...
Kia Kaha
Toku Whanauxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Valma Tapene

Posted: 18 Jan 2013

Tena koutou. January 18th 2013. Am I the only survivor left? My cousin who sat beside me passed away two years ago. I will at the memorial on the 7th.

Brynderwyn Committee Member

Posted: 05 Jun 2012

To All Whanau who had loved ones lost or who who survived the tragedy.
Next Year Febuary 7th (Weekend of the 9th and 10th February 2013) marks 50 years since this tragedy happened.
I believe we should acknowledge this time, as it is still quite present amongst us all even today, and affected a wider community.
I was only 4 years when this happened.
So a Hui will be called at Reweti Marae(not sure of a date yet) for all those who want to participate and share-
but more importantly to move forward and collectively look at what would be needed for this week-end -What do you want-and it would also be neccesary to form a Committee-Your thoughts would be appreciated please???

Edwin Kidwell

Posted: 13 Feb 2012

A terribly dark day in our history.
My two brothers, Pute and Byron Kidwell survived the tragedy, and have endured the eternal torture of the experience since that day. Neither receiving any assistance to help them cope.
Our sister Celia, mother Levia, grandmother Miriama, great-grandmother Beryl, all losing their lives.
Being only three years of age at the time, I sadly have no recollection of any of them or the immediate years that followed.