Month Calendar View

Historic NZ events in February

Feb

1

Trevor Chappell bowls underarm

1981 Trevor Chappell bowls underarm

Trans-Tasman sporting relations reached breaking point at the Melbourne Cricket Ground when Australian captain Greg Chappell ordered his brother Trevor to bowl the final delivery of a limited-overs cricket international against New Zealand underarm Read more...

First NZ Company settlers arrive in Nelson

1842 First NZ Company settlers arrive in Nelson

The Fifeshire arrived in Nelson with immigrants for the New Zealand Company's latest venture, which followed the settlement of Wellington, Whanganui and New Plymouth. Read more...

Feb

2

Welfare plan gets baptism of fire

1939 Welfare plan gets baptism of fire

A massive fire destroyed the nearly-completed three-storey Social Security building. Just seven weeks later a new building was completed and opened by prime minister Michael Joseph Savage Read more...

'The greatest middle distance race of all time'

1974 'The greatest middle distance race of all time'

In an amazing Commonwealth Games 1500-m final, New Zealand’s John Walker broke the world record yet finished second. Tanzanian Filbert Bayi won in a new world record time of 3 minutes 32.16 seconds. Read more...

Feb

3

Hawke's Bay earthquake strikes

1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake strikes

New Zealand's deadliest earthquake, measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, destroyed much of central Napier and Hastings and killed more than 250 people. Read more...

Killer storm sweeps the country

1868 Killer storm sweeps the country

A cyclone swept south across the country from Saturday 1st. By the time it moved away on Tuesday 4th, more than 40 people had been killed. Read more...

Feb

4

First woman to swim Cook Strait

1975 First woman to swim Cook Strait

American Lynne Cox became the first woman to swim across Cook Strait, battling heavy seas and strong winds during her 12-hour crossing. Read more...

USS <em>Buchanan</em> refused entry to NZ

1985 USS Buchanan refused entry to NZ

New Zealand's Labour government refused the USS Buchanan entry because the United States would neither confirm nor deny that the warship had nuclear capability. Read more...

Feb

5

First controlled powered flight in New Zealand

1911 First controlled powered flight in New Zealand

Pioneering aviator Vivian Walsh made the first controlled powered flight in New Zealand. He flew the Manurewa more than 350 m at a height of 20 m, watched by a small group of spectators at Glencora Park in Papakura, South Auckland. Read more...

Opening of railway from Invercargill to Bluff

1867 Opening of railway from Invercargill to Bluff

The 27-km line between Invercargill and Bluff was the third public railway in New Zealand, but Southland's railway ambitions helped drive the province towards bankruptcy. Read more...

Feb

6

The Treaty of Waitangi is signed

1840 The Treaty of Waitangi is signed

More than 40 Māori chiefs, led by Ngāpuhi's Hōne Heke Pokai, signed the Treaty of Waitangi in the Bay of Islands. Read more...

Liner <em>Wanganella</em> refloated after 18 days on Barrett Reef

1947 Liner Wanganella refloated after 18 days on Barrett Reef

The liner, carrying 400 passengers, struck Barrett Reef in Wellington Harbour on 19 January. Only an unusually long spell of fine weather - dubbed 'Wanganella weather' by locals - saved it from becoming a total wreck. Read more...

Feb

7

Sinking of HMS <em>Orpheus</em> - NZ's worst shipwreck

1863 Sinking of HMS Orpheus - NZ's worst shipwreck

The Royal Navy steam corvette HMS Orpheus was wrecked on the treacherous Manukau Harbour bar. Of the 259 men on board, 189 lost their lives in New Zealand's worst maritime disaster. Read more...

Feb

8

Ambush in Turkey leads to death of New Zealand seaman

1915 Ambush in Turkey leads to death of New Zealand seaman

Able Seaman William Edward Knowles became one of the first New Zealanders to be killed as a result of enemy action during the First World War. Read more...

First fatalities on a scheduled air service in NZ

1931 First fatalities on a scheduled air service in NZ

All three people on board a Dominion Airlines Desoutter were killed in a crash near Wairoa. The airline had helped maintain contact between the areas ravaged by the recent Hawke's Bay earthquake and the rest of New Zealand. Read more...

Feb

9

Cook completes circumnavigation of North Island

1770 Cook completes circumnavigation of North Island

The Endeavour's arrival at Cape Turnagain confirmed that the North Island was indeed an island, and not part of a fabled great southern continent. Read more...

Wanganui Opera House opened

1900 Wanganui Opera House opened

Opened by Premier Richard Seddon, this large wooden building has been one of Whanganui's finest entertainment venues for more than a century Read more...

Feb

10

End of free school milk

1967 End of free school milk

The school milk scheme was begun in 1937 as part of the first Labour government's strategy to improve child health. Read more...

Feb

11

Charles Heaphy recommended for VC

1864 Charles Heaphy recommended for VC

Recommended for a Victoria Cross after rescuing a soldier while under fire in 1864, Heaphy was eventually awarded the VC in 1867 - the only one awarded to a member of New Zealand's colonial forces. Read more...

Feb

12

SS <em>Penguin</em> wrecked in Cook Strait

1909 SS Penguin wrecked in Cook Strait

The Picton-Wellington ferry SS Penguin struck rocks in Cook Strait and sank in heavy seas off a rugged, isolated coast. Only 30 of the 102 people on board survived. Read more...

Feb

13

Killings at Pukearuhe

1869 Killings at Pukearuhe

A Ngāti Maniapoto war party sacked the redoubt at Pukearuhe (White Cliffs), northern Taranaki, killing military settlers and family members. Later that day, the missionary John Whiteley also fell victim. Read more...

Feb

14

Māori soldiers sail to war

1915 Māori soldiers sail to war

Imperial policy was initially against 'native peoples' fighting in a war between European powers. In February 1915, though, a 500-strong Native Contingent left Wellington for Egypt. Read more...

Te Kooti's last clash with government forces

1872 Te Kooti's last clash with government forces

Government forces led by Captain George Preece tackled Te Kooti for the last time above the Mangaone stream, just south of Lake Waikaremoana. A few months later Te Kooti withdrew to Te Rohe Pōtae (the King Country). Read more...

Feb

15

New Zealand beats England in a cricket test for the first time

1978 New Zealand beats England in a cricket test for the first time

Chasing 137 for victory in the first test at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, England was bowled out for 64, with Richard Hadlee taking 6 for 26. Read more...

First shipment of frozen meat leaves NZ

1882 First shipment of frozen meat leaves NZ

The Dunedin sailed from Port Chalmers with New Zealand's first refrigerated cargo destined for Britain, pioneering the frozen meat and dairy trade that would become the cornerstone of the economy. Read more...

Feb

16

James Cook sights Banks 'Island'

1770 James Cook sights Banks 'Island'

Cook sighted Banks Peninsula from the Endeavour. The following day he decided it was an island, which he named for the expedition's botanist, Joseph Banks. Read more...

Feb

17

'The Russians are coming!'

1873 'The Russians are coming!'

The editor of the Daily Southern Cross, David Luckie, published a hoax report of a Russian invasion of Auckland by the cruiser Kaskowiski (cask of whisky). Read more...

Feb

18

'Queen of Crime' Ngaio Marsh dies

1982 'Queen of Crime' Ngaio Marsh dies

Marsh, regarded as one of 'Queens of Crime' in the 1920s and 1930s, died just weeks after submitting her 32nd detective novel, Light thickens, to publishers. She was also an artist, playwright, actor and director. Read more...

New Zealand's last hanging

1957 New Zealand's last hanging

Whanganui farmer Walter Bolton, aged 68, was hanged at Auckland's Mt Eden Prison after being controversially convicted for the murder of his wife, Beatrice. The death penalty was abolished in 1961. Read more...

Feb

19

21 drown in Kopuawhara flash flood

1938 21 drown in Kopuawhara flash flood

A sudden cloudburst sent a 5-m wall of water surging through a railway construction camp in the Kopuawhara Valley, near Māhia, drowning 21 people. Read more...

Release of Parihaka leaders Te Whiti and Tohu

1883 Release of Parihaka leaders Te Whiti and Tohu

Parihaka had become the symbol of opposition to the government policy of land confiscation in the aftermath of the New Zealand Wars. Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi were imprisoned without trial after the military occupation of the south Taranaki community in November 1881. Read more...

Feb

20

Yvette Williams sets world long jump record

1954 Yvette Williams sets world long jump record

Eighteen months after winning the long jump gold medal at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, Williams set a new world record of 20 feet 7 1/2 inches (6.29 m) at an athletics meeting in Gisborne. Read more...

Feb

21

Kaitangata mining disaster

1879 Kaitangata mining disaster

An underground explosion at Kaitangata, South Otago, killed 34 coal miners. The accident led to stricter controls on mining. Read more...

Feb

22

Christchurch earthquake kills 185

2011 Christchurch earthquake kills 185

On Tuesday 22 February 2011 at 12.51 p.m. Christchurch was badly damaged by a magnitude 6.3 earthquake, which killed 185 people and injured several thousand. Read more...

Kelburn cable car opens

1902 Kelburn cable car opens

Wellington's iconic cable car was built to provide residents of the developing hill suburb of Kelburn with quick access to downtown Lambton Quay. Read more...

Feb

23

First step in creation of Fiordland National Park

1904 First step in creation of Fiordland National Park

940,000 ha in western Southland was permanently reserved for a national park. The 1952 National Parks Act formally created what has become New Zealand's largest national park and one of the largest in the world. Read more...

100,000 welcome home HMS <em>Achilles</em> crew

1940 100,000 welcome home HMS Achilles crew

The New Zealand cruiser HMS Achilles had taken part in the Battle of the River Plate, the Allies' first naval victory of the Second World War. Read more...

Feb

24

End of the battle of Langverwacht Hill

1902 End of the battle of Langverwacht Hill

Twenty-four New Zealanders were killed in this battle during the South African (Boer) War. A total of 230 New Zealanders died while serving in New Zealand's first overseas war. Read more...

Last detachment of imperial forces leaves New Zealand

1870 Last detachment of imperial forces leaves New Zealand

The final detachment of the 18th (Royal Irish) Regiment left New Zealand, leaving the Armed Constabulary (formed in 1867) responsible for the colony's internal defence. Read more...

Feb

25

49 killed in Featherston POW incident

1943 49 killed in Featherston POW incident

Forty-eight Japanese POWs and one guard were shot dead. The incident was hushed up until 1945 for fear of retribution against Allied prisoners in Japanese camps. Read more...

Feb

26

'Pistols at dawn': deadly duel in Wellington

1844 'Pistols at dawn': deadly duel in Wellington

Two Wellington lawyers, W.V. Brewer and H. Ross, drew pistols over a legal dispute. Brewer fired into the air but was shot in the groin and died a week later. Read more...

Feb

27

Troops deployed in waterfront dispute

1951 Troops deployed in waterfront dispute

The government ordered the armed forces to begin handling cargo at the ports of Auckland and Wellington as the waterfront dispute escalated. Read more...

Feb

28

Kiwi soldier faces firing squad

1945 Kiwi soldier faces firing squad

After more than a year on the run in northern Italy, New Zealand prisoner of war David Russell was recaptured and executed. His courage in the face of death earned him the first George Cross awarded to a member of New Zealand's military forces. Read more...

Feb

29

Intelligence tests arrive in New Zealand schools

1924 Intelligence tests arrive in New Zealand schools

Following a US study tour by Frank Milner, the Rector of Waitaki Boys’ High School, the Education Department began applying the Terman Group Test of Mental Ability to all first-year post-primary school students Read more...

Opening of first road to Maungapōhatu

1964 Opening of first road to Maungapōhatu

A milling road provided the first vehicle access to the tiny Urewera settlement of Maungapōhatu – famous as the former home of the prophet Rua Kēnana Read more...