13 December

First recorded European sighting of New Zealand

1642 First recorded European sighting of New Zealand

Towards noon the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman sighted 'a large land, uplifted high', possibly the peaks of the Paparoa Range behind Punakaiki. Read more...

Battle of the River Plate

1939 Battle of the River Plate

When the cruiser HMS Achilles opened fire on the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee in the South Atlantic, it became the first New Zealand unit to strike a blow at the enemy in the Second World War. Read more...