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Events on this Day – 31 August


The fate of the brig Sophia Pate, wrecked on a sandbar at the entrance to Kaipara Harbour with the loss of 21 lives, highlighted the dangers of navigating New Zealand’s poorly charted coastal waters.


The Industrial Conciliation and Arbitration (IC&A) Act made New Zealand the first country in the world to outlaw strikes and introduce compulsory arbitration.


Leader of the Labour Party since 1965 and prime minister since late 1972, 'Big Norm' died suddenly at the age of 51. He was the fifth New Zealand PM to die in office.