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Events on this Day – 9 December


After 6½ years of construction, it took just 6½ minutes for the first trainload of passengers to speed through the 2.6- km tunnel linking the Canterbury plains to the port of Lyttelton.


Forty-seven tourists and guides were on Whakaari (White Island) in Bay of Plenty when the active volcano erupted at 2.11 p.m. Twenty-two died immediately or subsequently from burns or respiratory damage. Most of the survivors suffered severe or critical injuries.