Month Calendar View

Historic NZ events in March

Mar

1

Skippers Bridge opened

1901 Skippers Bridge opened

At 96 m long and 90 m high, the suspension bridge over the Shotover River near Queenstown in Central Otago is one of the most spectacular bridges in New Zealand. Read more...

Mar

2

Missionary Carl Völkner killed at Ōpotiki

1865 Missionary Carl Völkner killed at Ōpotiki

Völkner's killers maintained that he had been acting as a government agent. In the aftermath land was confiscated and allocated to military settlers. Read more...

Mar

3

Barry Crump's novel <em>A good keen man</em> published

1960 Barry Crump's novel A good keen man published

Barry Crump established himself as the iconic 'Kiwi bloke', writing more than 20 books that captured the humour and personalities of rural New Zealand. Read more...

Mar

4

Legendary sheep rustler James Mackenzie caught

1855 Legendary sheep rustler James Mackenzie caught

Mackenzie escaped but was recaptured at Lyttelton on 15 March. Sentenced to five years' imprisonment, he was unconditionally pardoned in January 1856. Read more...

Mar

5

Outbreak of the Girls' War at Kororāreka

1830 Outbreak of the Girls' War at Kororāreka

Ururoa, the brother-in-law of Hongi Hika, responded to a rival who had cursed him and his Ngāi Tawake people after a fight between young women on the beach at Kororāreka. Many were killed in the conflict that followed. Read more...

Mar

6

Debut performance of NZ Symphony Orchestra

1947 Debut performance of NZ Symphony Orchestra

The success of the Centennial Festival Orchestra in 1940 encouraged the government to form a permanent National Orchestra, but the Second World War delayed its establishment until 1946. Read more...

Mar

7

First official execution in NZ

1842 First official execution in NZ

17-year-old Maketū Wharetōtara was hanged at the corner of Queen and Victoria streets in Auckland for the 1841 murder of Elizabeth Roberton, her two children, and two other adults.  Read more...

Cyclone Bola strikes

1988 Cyclone Bola strikes

Cyclone Bola, one of the most damaging cyclones to hit New Zealand, struck Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne–East Cape in March 1988 Read more...

Mar

8

First 'talkie' draws huge crowds in Wellington

1929 First 'talkie' draws huge crowds in Wellington

Moviegoers flocked to see Street angel, a silent picture with a recorded musical soundtrack, at Wellington's Paramount Theatre. There were also five 'talkie shorts', including an interview with the King of Spain. Read more...

Mar

9

Death of Opo the friendly dolphin

1956 Death of Opo the friendly dolphin

Opononi George ('Opo') was a bottlenose dolphin which warmed the hearts of thousands of people at Opononi in the Hokianga Harbour in 1955-6. Read more...

Sutherland Falls climbed

1890 Sutherland Falls climbed

Young surveyor William Quill needed only basic climbing equipment, including a billhook and an alpenstock, to scale the side of the ‘great Sutherland waterfall’ which cascades for 580 m near Milford Sound. Read more...

Mar

10

New Zealand Cross created

1869 New Zealand Cross created

This medal was created because members of New Zealand's local armed forces were not eligible for the Victoria Cross. Only 23 were awarded, making it one of the rarest military honours in the world. Read more...

Auckland Warriors debut

1995 Auckland Warriors debut

The Auckland Warriors played their first match in the New South Wales Rugby League’s expanded Winfield Cup competition, losing 25-22 to the Brisbane Broncos. Read more...

Mar

11

The fall of Kororāreka

1845 The fall of Kororāreka

As 600 Ngāpuhi warriors led by Kawiti and Hōne Heke descended on Kororāreka, citizens were evacuated to the ships Victoria and Active. For the fourth and last time, the flagstaff on Maiki Hill was cut down. Read more...

Mar

12

Arthur's Pass 'discovered'

1864 Arthur's Pass 'discovered'

Arthur, George and Edward Dobson were searching for a route between Canterbury and the West Coast that the chief Tarapuhi had told them about. Read more...

Mar

13

NZ's first test cricket victory

1956 NZ's first test cricket victory

After 22 draws and 22 losses in 26 years of test cricket, New Zealand defeated the West Indies by 190 runs in the fourth test at Eden Park. 
Read more...

Mar

14

Split Enz hit no.1 with 'I got you'

1980 Split Enz hit no.1 with 'I got you'

The band's first no. 1 hit, from the album True colours, also reached No. 1 in Australia and Canada, and charted well in the UK and USA. Read more...

Mar

15

NZ forces capture Castle Hill at Cassino

1944 NZ forces capture Castle Hill at Cassino

 The 6th NZ Brigade attacked the Italian town of Cassino as part of the Allies’ advance  on Rome. By the time the NZ Division was withdrawn in early April, 343 New Zealanders had lost their lives. Read more...

New Zealand Company ends colonising efforts

1844 New Zealand Company ends colonising efforts

Having struggled financially for some years, the Company was in great difficulty by early 1844 in the wake of the bloody Wairau incident of June 1843. Read more...

Mar

16

Jockey Y-fronts hit NZ shops

1940 Jockey Y-fronts hit NZ shops

'If old-fashioned underwear makes you squirm, switch to Jockey', urged adverts that also promised 'real masculine comfort' and 'no bunching discomfort'. Read more...

NZHistory website launched

1999 NZHistory website launched

NZHistory was launched by the Minister of Internal Affairs, Hon. Jack Elder, at a function at National Archives (now Archives New Zealand) in Wellington on 16 March 1999. Read more...

Mar

17

Only surviving Maungatautari Bank cheque issued

1905 Only surviving Maungatautari Bank cheque issued

The Maungatautari Bank was one of several set up by Māori in the decades after the New Zealand Wars to handle the money they were receiving from land sales. Read more...

First Taranaki War erupts at Waitara

1860 First Taranaki War erupts at Waitara

The opening shots of the first Taranaki War were fired when British troops attacked a pā built by the Te Āti Awa chief Te Rangitāke at Te Kohia, Waitara. Read more...

Mar

18

NZ troops arrive in Greece

1941 NZ troops arrive in Greece

When the Germans attacked Greece on 6 April, they quickly outflanked the Allied defenders, who were forced into a hurried retreat down the peninsula. Read more...

Mar

19

Jayforce lands in Japan

1946 Jayforce lands in Japan

Four thousand New Zealand troops arrived as part of a 40,000-strong British Commonwealth Occupation Force to work alongside United States military forces which had occupied most of Japan. Read more...

Honey bees brought to NZ

1839 Honey bees brought to NZ

When Mary Bumby landed at the Wesleyan mission station at Mangungu, Hokianga, in March 1839, she brought ashore two hives of honey bees from Sydney. Read more...

Mar

20

NZ's first flag chosen

1834 NZ's first flag chosen

Chiefs from the Far North met with James Busby at Waitangi to choose the flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand, which was recognised by the British admiralty. Read more...

Mar

21

Race Relations Day celebrated for first time

2003 Race Relations Day celebrated for first time

Race Relations Day was first formally celebrated in 2003 with the theme, 'Hands Up for Kiwis of Every Race and Place'. Read more...

Mar

22

Kiwis win Oscars for 'The piano'

1994 Kiwis win Oscars for 'The piano'

Anna Paquin was the first New Zealander to win an Oscar for acting and the second youngest recipient in Oscar history. Director Jane Campion won an Oscar for best original screenplay. Read more...

Mar

23

The John Wickliffe anchors at Port Chalmers

1848 The John Wickliffe anchors at Port Chalmers

The first of the Otago Association's immigrant ships brought Scottish settlers who were escaping from an economic depression and a split between the Church of Scotland and the Free Church Presbyterians. Read more...

Mar

24

Ngāti Kahu kidnap victim dies at sea on French ship

1770 Ngāti Kahu kidnap victim dies at sea on French ship

The Ngāti Kahu chief Ranginui  died at sea after being taken from Doubtless Bay by the French explorer de Surville Read more...

Mar

25

Wakefield and Featherston duel

1847 Wakefield and Featherston duel

Isaac Featherston, editor of the Wellington Independent, had indirectly accused William Wakefield, the New Zealand Company's principal agent, of being a thief. Neither man was hurt in the duel. Read more...

John A. Lee expelled from Labour Party

1940 John A. Lee expelled from Labour Party

Lee's criticisms of the dying Prime Minister M.J. Savage's leadership and his dissatisfaction with the government's economic policy led to his expulsion from the Labour Party. Savage died two days later. Read more...

Mar

26

Brunner mine disaster kills 65

1896 Brunner mine disaster kills 65

Killed by blast and gas, the victims were almost half of Brunner's underground workforce. It is still the worst industrial accident in New Zealand history. Read more...

Mar

27

Trades Hall bombing

1984 Trades Hall bombing

A suitcase bomb exploded in Wellington's Trades Hall, killing caretaker Ernie Abbott. No one has ever been arrested for the crime. Read more...

The 'Sallies' come to New Zealand

1883 The 'Sallies' come to New Zealand

Two English Salvation Army officers landed at Port Chalmers to set up a New Zealand branch of the Christian evangelical movement. Read more...

Mar

28

NZ cricketers skittled for 26

1955 NZ cricketers skittled for 26

Bert Sutcliffe top-scored with 11 runs as New Zealand was skittled for the lowest total in test cricket history – a mere 26 runs.  Read more...

Signing of CER agreement strengthens trans-Tasman trade ties

1983 Signing of CER agreement strengthens trans-Tasman trade ties

New Zealand and Australia formally signed the Closer Economic Relations (CER) agreement, strengthening trade ties between the Tasman neighbours. Read more...

Mar

29

Nazi sabotage hoax

1942 Nazi sabotage hoax

Career criminal Sydney Ross convinced the New Zealand government that a Nazi sabotage cell was operating in New Zealand. 
Read more...

Evangelist Billy Graham arrives for 11-day crusade

1959 Evangelist Billy Graham arrives for 11-day crusade

In the first half of 1959 Billy Graham and his associate evangelists Leighton Ford, Grady Wilson and Joseph Blinco held crusades in New Zealand and Australia which attracted large audiences. Read more...

Mar

30

Funeral procession for Labour PM Savage

1940 Funeral procession for Labour PM Savage

Savage’s funeral procession set off from Parliament House at 9 a.m. on 30 March, starting what became the most lengthy funeral procession, and the most marked outpouring of public grief, in New Zealand’s history. Read more...

Historian Michael King dies

2004 Historian Michael King dies

Historian Michael King (aged 58) and his wife Maria Jungowska died in a car accident in south Waikato. King’s Penguin history of New Zealand became the most popular book of the year, and was the Readers’ Choice at the 2004 Montana New Zealand Book Awards. Read more...

Mar

31

Rewi's last stand?

1864 Rewi's last stand?

The last battle of the Waikato War began when the spearhead of a 1200-strong British force charged an apparently weak Māori position at Ōrākau, south-east of Te Awamutu. Read more...

Hocken Library opened at the Otago Museum

1910 Hocken Library opened at the Otago Museum

Thomas Hocken’s priceless legacy of historical material is the most important collection outside Crown ownership in New Zealand. Read more...

Fred Ladd flies under Auckland Harbour Bridge

1967 Fred Ladd flies under Auckland Harbour Bridge

Well-known Auckland aviator Fred Ladd illegally flew his Widgeon amphibian aircraft under the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Read more...