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Events on this Day – 13 December

1642

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

1939

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.