Today in History

John Walker wins gold in Montreal

31/07/1976 - John Walker wins gold in Montreal

Following in the footsteps of Jack Lovelock and Peter Snell, Walker won gold in the Olympic 1500 m. Black African nations boycotted the Games in protest at the All Blacks' tour of South Africa

What happened that day?

Kiwi of the Week

  • John Walker

    John Walker is one of New Zealand's track heroes. His athletic career was punctuated by memorable performances and noted for its longevity

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Jul

1

Bastion Point land returned

1988 Bastion Point land returned

The government announced that it had agreed to the Waitangi Tribunal's recommendation that Bastion Point on Auckland's Waitematā Harbour be returned to the local iwi, Ngāti Whātua. more...

Jul

2

Electric trains come to Wellington

1938 Electric trains come to Wellington

Opened on 2 July 1938, the Johnsonville suburban line was the first in the country to be served by electric multiple units.

more...

Jul

3

DC-3 crashes in Kaimai Range

1963 DC-3 crashes in Kaimai Range

All 23 passengers and crew were killed in what is still New Zealand's worst internal civil aviation accident. Helicopters were used for the first time in the search and rescue operation that followed.

more...

Jul

4

NZ Boxing Association formed in Christchurch

1902 NZ Boxing Association formed in Christchurch

The New Zealand Boxing Association was formed to promote and foster amateur boxing in this country. After drawing up its rules and obtaining parliamentary sanction, the association staged the first New Zealand championships in Christchurch later in 1902. more...

Te Kooti escapes from the Chathams

1868 Te Kooti escapes from the Chathams

Te Kooti and 300 of his followers captured the schooner Rifleman and sailed for New Zealand. The fugitives landed at Whareongaonga, just south of Poverty Bay, six days later.

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Jul

6

Main trunk express train disaster

1923 Main trunk express train disaster

Early hours in the morning the express crashed into a landslip at Ōngarue in the King Country. Seventeen people were killed, the first major loss of life on New Zealand railways.

more...

Jul

7

'Tom Watson' wins bronze for New Zealand

1924 'Tom Watson' wins bronze for New Zealand

The character in the Academy Award-winning film Chariots of fire (1981) was based on Arthur Porritt, who won a bronze medal for New Zealand in the 100 m at the 1924 Paris Olympics.

more...

NZ Labour Party founded

1916 NZ Labour Party founded

The country's oldest existing political party, the New Zealand Labour Party emerged from a joint conference in Wellington of the United Federation of Labour and the Social Democratic Party. more...

Jul

8

NZ Racing Conference established

1893 NZ Racing Conference established

The New Zealand Racing Conference was formed to control the thoroughbred horse-racing industry in this country.

more...

NZ adopts decimal currency

1967 NZ adopts decimal currency

Pounds, shillings and pence were replaced with dollars and cents − 27 million new banknotes and 165 million new coins.

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Jul

11

Kate Edger becomes NZ’s first woman graduate

1877 Kate Edger becomes NZ’s first woman graduate

Kate Edger became the first woman in New Zealand to gain a university degree and the first woman in the British Empire to earn a BA.

more...

New Zealander wins Tour de France stage

2001 New Zealander wins Tour de France stage

The first stage win by a New Zealander in the Tour de France came in a team time trial. Although Chris Jenner didn't finish with the core of his Credit Agricole team, he shared in the stage win and got to stand on the podium.

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Jul

13

Walsh becomes first NZer to obtain pilot's certificate

1916 Walsh becomes first NZer to obtain pilot's certificate

Vivian Walsh became the first New Zealander to obtain an aviator's certificate. The New Zealand Flying School had been established at Ōrākei in October 1915.

more...

Jul

14

NZ's first general election begins

1853 NZ's first general election begins

The first member of New Zealand's inaugural Parliament was elected unopposed at Russell in the Bay of Islands. It would take another two and a half months to elect the remaining 36 members of the House of Representatives.

more...

Death of Sir Āpirana Ngata

1950 Death of Sir Āpirana Ngata

Ngata contributed hugely to the revival of the Māori people in the early 20th century. His intelligence, tact, persistence and political skill helped him promote Māori culture and identity.

more...

Jul

15

Lovelock smashes world mile record

1933 Lovelock smashes world mile record

Jack Lovelock's run at Princeton University beat the record for the mile, held by Jules Ladoumegue, by 1.4 seconds. The race was dubbed the 'greatest mile of all time' by Time Magazine.

more...

Jul

17

Death of Paddy the Wanderer

1939 Death of Paddy the Wanderer

Paddy, a ginger and brown Airedale terrier, became a national celebrity because of his exploits on the Wellington waterfront (and beyond) during the 1930s. He was remembered as providing a 'little light in the dark days of the Depression'.

more...

Jul

18

NZ's first postage stamps go on sale

1855 NZ's first postage stamps go on sale

These adhesive, non-perforated stamps for the prepayment of postage were the famous 'Full Face' or 'Chalon Head' design showing Queen Victoria in her coronation robes. more...

Death of Ferdinand von Hochstetter

1884 Death of Ferdinand von Hochstetter

The Austrian geologist was the first to describe and interpret many features of New Zealand geology. He established a tradition of systematic geological mapping.

more...

Jul

20

Steam locomotive sets world speed record

1892 Steam locomotive sets world speed record

The Wellington and Manawatu Railway (WMR) Company’s locomotive No. 10 established a world speed record for the narrow 3 foot 6 inch (1067 mm) gauge, averaging 68 km per hour on a two-hour run and hitting a top speed of 103 kph. more...

Riots rock Mt Eden prison

1965 Riots rock Mt Eden prison

The disturbance followed a botched escape attempt by two prisoners and lasted into the next day. Several warders were taken hostage and part of the prison was gutted by fire.

more...

Jul

21

Capture of Weraroa pā

1865 Capture of Weraroa pā

Governor George Grey led a small force that captured a Pai Mārire (Hauhau) pā at Weraroa, Waitōtara. The pā had long lost its strategic significance, and its small garrison had seemed willing to surrender.

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Jul

22

Lotto goes on sale for first time

1987 Lotto goes on sale for first time

Outlets opened to long queues, with the first division prize in the inaugural draw worth $360,000. In the first year Kiwis 'invested' nearly $249 million in the new lottery, which was based on a weekly draw of six numbers. more...

The <em>Maria</em> wrecked near Cape Terawhiti

1851 The Maria wrecked near Cape Terawhiti

Twenty-six lives were lost when the barque Maria was wrecked near Cape Terawhiti. This provided more ammunition for Wellington settlers who were trying to convince the government of the need for a lighthouse.

more...

Jul

24

New Zealand soldier killed  in Timor-Leste

2000 New Zealand soldier killed in Timor-Leste

Private Leonard Manning became New Zealand's first combat death since the Vietnam War. Manning was part of New Zealand's contribution to a United Nations peacekeeping force in the fledgling nation of Timor-Leste (East Timor). more...

Jul

25

Anti-Springbok protestors derail Hamilton match

1981 Anti-Springbok protestors derail Hamilton match

350 anti-tour demonstrators invaded Rugby Park in Hamilton, forcing the abandonment of the Springboks-Waikato match. Rugby supporters pelted the protesters with bottles and scuffles broke out.

more...

Jul

26

Kiwi boxer fights for world heavyweight title

1928 Kiwi boxer fights for world heavyweight title

In the midst of boxing's golden age, Gisborne-born Tom Heeney took on Gene Tunney in front of 46,000 spectators at Yankee Stadium, New York. Although he was defeated, his title bid aroused tremendous interest in both New Zealand and the USA.

more...

Parliament moves to Wellington

1865 Parliament moves to Wellington

The capital moved from Auckland to the more central Wellington on the recommendation of an Australian commission. The former Wellington Provincial Council chamber became the new home for Parliament.

more...

Jul

27

Pioneer aviator George Bolt dies

1963 Pioneer aviator George Bolt dies

Bolt was an outstanding figure in the development of commercial aviation in this country. He achieved a number of aviation firsts, taking New Zealand's first aerial photographs in 1912 and delivering its first official airmail in 1919

more...

Jul

28

Women's suffrage petition presented

1893 Women's suffrage petition presented

This massive suffrage petition − signed by more 25,000 women, about a fifth of the entire adult European female population − helped pave the way for the passage of New Zealand's world-leading Electoral Act in September 1893.

more...

Jul

29

Police baton anti-tour protestors near Parliament

1981 Police baton anti-tour protestors near Parliament

Up to 2000 anti-Springbok tour protesters were confronted by police who used batons to stop them marching up Molesworth St to the home of South Africa's Consul to New Zealand.

more...

Jul

30

Carless days introduced

1979 Carless days introduced

Carless days for motor vehicles were introduced to combat the second oil shock. They did little to reduce petrol consumption and were scrapped in May 1980. more...

Jul

31

John Walker wins gold in Montreal

1976 John Walker wins gold in Montreal

Following in the footsteps of Jack Lovelock and Peter Snell, Walker won gold in the Olympic 1500 m. Black African nations boycotted the Games in protest at the All Blacks' tour of South Africa more...