Month Calendar View

Historic NZ events in January

Jan

1

NZ's first lighthouse, Pencarrow, lit for the first time

1859 NZ's first lighthouse, Pencarrow, lit for the first time

The lighthouse on Pencarrow Head was lit for the first time amid great celebration. After years of inadequate solutions, Wellington finally had a permanent lighthouse – a New Zealand first. Read more...

Legislative Council abolished

1951 Legislative Council abolished

The Legislative Council was New Zealand's Upper House, to which members were appointed, not elected. It was abolished in 1950 by government legislation. Read more...

Jan

2

First official airmail flight to San Francisco

1938 First official airmail flight to San Francisco

The first official New Zealand airmail to the United States was carried from Auckland to San Francisco on Pan American Airways' Samoan Clipper. The Sikorsky S-42B flying boat was piloted by Captain Ed Musick. Read more...

Jan

3

New Zealand Company surveyors arrive in Port Nicholson

1840 New Zealand Company surveyors arrive in Port Nicholson

Surveyors arrived in Port Nicholson to lay out the proposed New Zealand Company settlement of Britannia at Pito-one (Petone). This site would prove unsuitable, prompting a move across the harbour to the present-day site of Wellington. Read more...

First NZ-made 'talkie' screened

1930 First NZ-made 'talkie' screened

Coubray-tone News, the work of the inventive Ted Coubray, had its first public screening at Auckland's Plaza Theatre. Read more...

Jan

4

Hillary leads NZ party to South Pole

1958 Hillary leads NZ party to South Pole

Sir Edmund Hillary led the New Zealand component of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition on the first overland trip to the South Pole since Robert Falcon Scott's ill-fated journey in 1912. Read more...

Te Kooti defeated at Ngātapa

1869 Te Kooti defeated at Ngātapa

Pursued by kūpapa and colonial troops to Ngātapa, an old hilltop pā inland from Poverty Bay, Te Kooti narrowly avoided capture after a four-day siege. Most of those with him were captured and many were executed the following day. Read more...

Jan

5

Occupation of Bastion Point begins

1977 Occupation of Bastion Point begins

Joe Hawke led an occupation of Takaparawhā (Bastion Point reserve), Auckland, to protest against the Crown's decision to sell land that Ngāti Whātua maintained had been wrongly taken from them. Read more...

Jan

6

Godfrey Bowen sets world sheep-shearing record

1953 Godfrey Bowen sets world sheep-shearing record

At Ōpiki, Manawatū, Godfrey Bowen set a new world record when he sheared 456 full-wool ewes in nine hours. Bowen helped establish sheep shearing as a legitimate sport and was one of the inaugural inductees into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in 1990. Read more...

Jan

7

Completion of first solo trans-Tasman flight

1931 Completion of first solo trans-Tasman flight

Australian Guy Menzies' flight from Sydney ended when he crash-landed his Avro Avian biplane in a swamp at Harihari on the West Coast. Read more...

Jan

8

Haast begins West Coast expedition

1863 Haast begins West Coast expedition

Julius von Haast's exploration of the West Coast revealed the extent of the Grey River coalfields and found traces of gold in rivers. The Haast Pass and Haast River are named after him. Read more...

Jan

9

Death of Katherine Mansfield

1923 Death of Katherine Mansfield

The internationally acclaimed author revolutionised 20th-century English short-story writing. Her work has been translated into more than 25 languages. She died from tuberculosis at the age of 34. Read more...

Jan

10

Catholic missionaries arrive at Hokianga

1838 Catholic missionaries arrive at Hokianga

French Bishop Jean Baptiste François Pompallier, a priest and brother of the Society of Mary, arrived at Hokianga. His party celebrated their first mass three days later. Read more...

Pioneer aviators vanish over the Tasman

1928 Pioneer aviators vanish over the Tasman

Hood and John Moncrieff made a gallant if poorly organised attempt to be the first to fly the Tasman from Australia to New Zealand. Read more...

Jan

11

Ruapekapeka pā occupied by British forces

1846 Ruapekapeka pā occupied by British forces

The battle at Ruapekapeka, the 'bats' nest’, was the last battle of the Northern War. Debate soon raged as to whether the pā had been abandoned by its defenders or captured by the British. Read more...

Jan

12

Queen Elizabeth II opens NZ Parliament

1954 Queen Elizabeth II opens NZ Parliament

A crowd of 50,000 greeted Queen Elizabeth II as she arrived at Parliament. This was the first time New Zealand's Parliament had been opened by a reigning monarch. Read more...

Jan

13

'Torpedo Billy' Murphy wins the world featherweight boxing title

1890 'Torpedo Billy' Murphy wins the world featherweight boxing title

By defeating Ike Weir at San Francisco, Murphy became the first New Zealander to win a world professional boxing title. Read more...

Jan

14

Bob Fitzsimmons wins world middleweight boxing title

1891 Bob Fitzsimmons wins world middleweight boxing title

Fitzsimmons knocked out Jack Dempsey in New Orleans to become the second New Zealander to hold a world boxing title. Read more...

Jan

15

Anti-Vietnam War protesters greet US Vice President

1970 Anti-Vietnam War protesters greet US Vice President

United States Vice-President Spiro Agnew's visit to New Zealand sparked violent confrontations outside his hotel between anti-war demonstrators and police. Read more...

Jan

16

Women's Auxiliary Air Force founded

1941 Women's Auxiliary Air Force founded

New Zealand's first female military personnel were complemented within 18 months by the members of the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps and the Women's Royal Naval Service. Read more...

Jan

17

NZ Constitution Act comes into force

1853 NZ Constitution Act comes into force

The New Zealand Constitution Act (UK) of 1852, which established a system of representative government for the colony, was declared operative by Governor Sir George Grey. Read more...

Jan

18

'Montego Bay' hits number one

1980 'Montego Bay' hits number one

Upper Hutt's Jon Stevens made it back-to-back No. 1 singles when 'Montego Bay' bumped 'Jezebel' from the top of the New Zealand charts. He would later be the lead singer for Australian bands Noiseworks and INXS. Read more...

Jan

19

19 killed in Strongman Mine explosion at Rūnanga

1967 19 killed in Strongman Mine explosion at Rūnanga

Nineteen men were killed when an explosion ripped through the Strongman coal mine at Rūnanga. An investigation concluded that safety regulations had not been followed and that a shot hole for a charge had been incorrectly fired. Read more...

Hōne Heke cuts down the British flagstaff -  again

1845 Hōne Heke cuts down the British flagstaff - again

Initially supportive of the Treaty of Waitangi, Hōne Heke became increasingly disenchanted with the effects of European colonisation. This was his third attack on the flagstaff at Kororāreka (Russell). Read more...

Jan

20

Scott Base opened in Antarctica

1957 Scott Base opened in Antarctica

Scott Base, New Zealand’s permanent Antarctic research station, was originally established to support the privately run Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Read more...

Jan

21

NZ and Australia sign the Canberra Pact

1944 NZ and Australia sign the Canberra Pact

The Canberra Pact was an undertaking by both countries to co-operate on international matters, especially in the Pacific. Read more...

Ice comes to Nelson

1859 Ice comes to Nelson

Nowadays it is easy to enjoy a cold drink on a hot afternoon, but it was not always as simple as adding ice from the freezer to water from the refrigerator. Once the ice made a far longer journey. Read more...

Jan

22

First European settlers arrive in Wellington

1840 First European settlers arrive in Wellington

The New Zealand Company's first settler ship, the Aurora, arrived at Petone, marking the founding of the settlement that would become Wellington Read more...

Jan

23

Massive earthquake hits Wellington region

1855 Massive earthquake hits Wellington region

A magnitude 8.2 earthquake lifted the southern end of the Rimutaka Range by 6 m. Land raised from the harbour now forms part of Wellington's CBD. Read more...

Disastrous centennial yacht race begins

1951 Disastrous centennial yacht race begins

Twenty yachts left Wellington bound for Lyttelton in a race to celebrate Canterbury's centenary. Following a severe southerly storm only one yacht officially finished the race. Two others were lost along with their 10 crew members Read more...

Jan

24

Imperial forces invade south Taranaki

1865 Imperial forces invade south Taranaki

During what turned out to be his final campaign in New Zealand, General Cameron was apparently called 'The Lame Seagull' by a Māori opponent because of his alleged slowness and timidity Read more...

Soviet ambassador expelled

1980 Soviet ambassador expelled

The ambassador of the Soviet Union, Vsevolod Sofinsky, was ordered to leave the country within 72 hours for giving money to the pro-Soviet Socialist Unity Party. Read more...

Jan

25

First day of competition at the Christchurch Commonwealth Games

1974 First day of competition at the Christchurch Commonwealth Games

On the opening day of what were billed as the 'Friendly Games', Canterbury runner Dick Tayler pulled off a surprise victory for the host nation in the 10,000 m. Read more...

Jan

26

Floods devastate Southland

1984 Floods devastate Southland

A record one-day total of up to 84.8 mm of rain had by 9 p.m. caused extensive surface flooding in the streets of Invercargill, Riverton, Ōtautau, Tūātapere and Bluff. Read more...

Governor FitzRoy arrives to investigate Wairau incident

1844 Governor FitzRoy arrives to investigate Wairau incident

Faced with demands for revenge after the deaths of 22 settlers in an incident in the Wairau Valley, Governor FitzRoy decided that the Māori had been provoked by the unreasonable actions of the Europeans. Read more...

Jan

27

Peter Snell breaks world mile record

1962 Peter Snell breaks world mile record

Widely considered one of the greatest middle-distance runners of all time, Snell broke Herb Elliott's world record on grass at Cooks Gardens, Whanganui, covering the distance in 3 minutes 54.4 seconds. Read more...

Jan

28

Hardham wins VC in South Africa

1901 Hardham wins VC in South Africa

Wellington blacksmith William Hardham served in South Africa with the fourth New Zealand contingent. He was the only New Zealander to win the Victoria Cross in the South African War. Read more...

D'Urville sails through French Pass

1827 D'Urville sails through French Pass

In a feat of great navigational daring - and after several attempts - the French explorer Dumont d'Urville sailed the Astrolabe through French Pass into Admiralty Bay in the Marlborough Sounds. Read more...

Jan

29

Auckland's first Anniversary Day Regatta

1842 Auckland's first Anniversary Day Regatta

Anniversary Day commemorates the arrival of Lieutenant-Governor William Hobson in the Bay of Islands in 1840. Today Anniversary Day is best known for the huge annual regatta on Waitematā Harbour Read more...

Jan

30

Bookies banned from NZ racecourses

1911 Bookies banned from NZ racecourses

An amendment to the Gaming Act at the end of 1910 banned bookmakers from New Zealand racecourses. 'Bookies' were officially farewelled at a race meeting at Takapuna. Read more...

Queen farewells New Zealand

1954 Queen farewells New Zealand

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, left Bluff at the end of the first tour of New Zealand by a reigning monarch. Read more...

Jan

31

NZ’s first regular airmail service begins

1921 NZ’s first regular airmail service begins

The first flight of the Canterbury Aviation Company’s new airmail service took off from Christchurch for Ashburton and Timaru. Read more...