Brynderwyn bus disaster memorial

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

detail detail

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.

detail detail detail detail detail

Community contributions

14 comments have been posted about Brynderwyn bus disaster memorial

What do you know?

Don Hutcheson

Posted: 28 Jul 2011

My Uncle Tamaio Paiki was following the bus and scrambled down the hill to help remove wounded and dead. That night he came to our house in Takapuna, somber and shaken, to discard his bloody clothes, shower and sleep. I was only 13 but the name Brynderwyn is seared in my memory. Uncle Tom noted that every royal visit had brought some disaster involving Maori.

John Tapene

Posted: 30 Nov 2010

Tena koe, tena koutou My father was one of those who was killed in this crash. Also on the bus was my mother, elder sister, aunty and cousin all of whom survived. Over the years we have attended several gatherings of families of those killed in the crash but because we were from outside of the hapu/iwi of Reweti Marae I suppose we were often seen as outsiders and not really part of the immediate whanau. At the unveiling of the memorial in 2003 my brothers and sisters attended as a family. My aunty passed away in 1990 and mum in 2001 so both missed the opportunity to see a memorial dedicated to those who lost their lives. My cousin attended the memorial service but not the kai hakari -she lost the use of both her lower limbs as a result of the accident and returned home to Auckland after the dawn service. The rest of us travelled to the top of the Hill after the service, the first time my sister had gone over the Hill since the accident. She either refused to travel north or would go via Mangawhai or Maungaturoto. After a cup-o-tea at the cafe at the top of the hill we returned to the Marae at Oruawharo where and I took the opportunity to speak on behalf of my father, mother, sister, aunty and cousin. As a family, we had grown up around the accident and often talked about what had happened. It has been awkward hearing stories of what supposedly happened when we had heard from those who were seated at the very front of the bus about what did happen with the driver who tried to stop the bus, about some of the passengers who helped the driver try to stop the bus, about several passengers ensuring others stayed calm, about passengers in cars following the bus who noted something was wrong and about what they did when they arrived at the scene, about the aftermath from different perspectives. We have also talked long and hard about the impact the accident had on us, the Tapene family of seven children under the age of 15 who grew up from that day with no father. It was my father who had arranged the bus. On the day the passengers were due to leave the bus company said they didn't have a bus available because they had double booked. So the bus they used to travel up north was a very late replacement, so too the driver, and as eventuated, the bus was not roadworthy. The crash led to many changes in practice particularly around registration and warranting of passenger vehicles. Everyone who lost someone in that accident or whose life was affected as a result has memories on a regular basis. Being a regular driver past the accident site I often stop in and just sit. Of the thirty or forty times that I have stopped there I have been the only person but there are definite signs that there are regular visitors be it newly placed mementos, freshly weeded areas or recent tryes tracks the memorial will continue to beckon us as we live with the thought that on that fateful day in 1963, not only did we lose 15 people we could ill afford to lose but the after effects are ongoing.

brynderwyn memorial 1983 committee member

Posted: 03 Oct 2010

February 7th 2013 will be 50 years since this tragic accident occurred. It still hurts so deeply, those who survived, and the descendants of those who lost loved ones. Maybe it is time know to think about how we will all come together and commemorate this day in 2013.......................


Posted: 04 Feb 2010

I was a teenager I will never forget the army trucks arriving the rain the caskets being lifted from the trucks and all of us trying to find those we loved my little cousin of seven years who lost her mother sisters grandmother grandfather greatgranmother and aunties. There was never compensation as the media stated or officials. a trip to pay respect to the queen that snapped away 5generations.