Today in History

Pioneer aviator George Bolt dies

27/07/1963 - 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

What happened that day?

Kiwi of the Week

  • James Hēnare

    James Henare was Nga Puhi leader, soldier, farmer, and community leader. After the Second World War he helped set up the kohanga reo programme and fought for recognition of Maori rights under the Treaty of Waitangi

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Month Calendar View

previousHistoric NZ events in Aprilnext

Apr

1

TEAL becomes Air New Zealand

1965 TEAL becomes Air New Zealand

On 1 April 1965 Tasman Empire Airways Limited (TEAL), New Zealand's international air operator, was renamed Air New Zealand Limited.

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State-owned enterprises are born

1987 State-owned enterprises are born

The State-Owned Enterprises Act heralded a major overhaul of the public sector and was a key part of the strategy of economic liberalisation known as 'Rogernomics'.

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Accident Compensation Corporation comes into operation

1974 Accident Compensation Corporation comes into operation

ACC was created by the Accident Compensation Act 1972, under which the state provided 24-hour, no-fault insurance for all personal injury. more...

Thermal insulation required in NZ homes

1978 Thermal insulation required in NZ homes

Early European-style timber frame construction was not as effective as traditional Māori methods at keeping the heat in buildings. Specified levels of thermal insulation were not required by law until 1978. more...

New Zealand Film Archive launched

1981 New Zealand Film Archive launched

The New Zealand Film Archive has grown considerably since it began operation in Wellington premises it shared with the New Zealand Federation of Film Societies. more...

Apr

2

Arrest of Rua Kēnana

1916 Arrest of Rua Kēnana

On the morning of Sunday 2 April 1916, 57 armed police invaded the remote Tūhoe settlement of Maungapōhatu in the Urewera Ranges. They had come to arrest the prophet Rua Kēnana.

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Apr

3

'Battle of Manners Street'

1943 'Battle of Manners Street'

The most famous of several wartime skirmishes between New Zealanders and American servicemen, the 'Battle of Manners Street' saw hundreds of soldiers and civilians slugging it out in downtown Wellington. more...

Apr

5

Death of Phar Lap

1932 Death of Phar Lap

Two weeks after winning one of North America's richest races, the Agua Caliente Handicap, the Australasian champion died of a mystery illness in California. more...

NZ's first overseas diplomatic post created

1871 NZ's first overseas diplomatic post created

New Zealand’s first overseas diplomatic post was created when Isaac Featherston was appointed as agent-general in London. more...

Apr

7

First state secondary school opens in Nelson

1856 First state secondary school opens in Nelson

The first state secondary school in New Zealand, Nelson College, opened in temporary premises in Trafalgar Street with a roll of just eight boys.

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Apr

8

Julius Vogel becomes Premier

1873 Julius Vogel becomes Premier

Vogel was the dominant political figure of the 1870s, serving as Colonial Treasurer and premier on several occasions, and borrowing heavily to invest in a massive public works and immigration programme.

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Apr

9

Unemployed disturbances in Dunedin

1932 Unemployed disturbances in Dunedin

During the 'angry autumn' of 1932, in the depths of the Great Depression, unemployed workers in Dunedin reacted angrily to the refusal of the Hospital Board to offer them assistance.

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Labour government cancels Springbok rugby tour

1973 Labour government cancels Springbok rugby tour

Following police warnings of civil strife, Prime Minister Norman Kirk informed the New Zealand Rugby Football Union that the government saw ‘no alternative’ to a 'postponement' of the planned tour by the South African Springboks. more...

Apr

11

Soldiers' votes derail prohibition campaign

1919 Soldiers' votes derail prohibition campaign

A referendum gave prohibition a 13,000-vote majority, but this result was overturned by the votes of nearly 40,000 troops who were still overseas or in camp.

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New Zealand's first Royal visit

1869 New Zealand's first Royal visit

The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Alfred, arrived in Wellington as captain of HMS Galatea. He was the first member of the royal family to visit New Zealand.

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Apr

13

NCW formed in Christchurch

1896 NCW formed in Christchurch

The National Council of Women of New Zealand was established in Christchurch by women who had been active in the suffrage campaign. Their aim was to continue to improve the status and condition of women.

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Apr

14

Unemployed riots rock Queen Street

1932 Unemployed riots rock Queen Street

Hundreds of unemployed people rioted in Auckland's Queen Street for more than two hours. Trouble began after several hundred public servants marched to the Town Hall to protest against proposed wage cuts. more...

Apr

15

First sod dug for North Island main trunk

1885 First sod dug for North Island main trunk

Politicians and Maori leaders ceremonially turned the ‘first sod’ of the central section of the main trunk line – a project that would take 23 years to complete.

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First Māori MPs elected to Parliament

1868 First Māori MPs elected to Parliament

Four Māori seats were established in 1867 and elections for Māori members were held the following year. Initially created for five years, the seats' existence was prolonged indefinitely in 1876.

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Mangatepopo canyoning disaster

2008 Mangatepopo canyoning disaster

Six students and one teacher from Elim College died in a flash flood while canyoning in the Mangatepopo Stream, Tongariro National Park.

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Apr

16

News of <em>Titanic</em> sinking reaches NZ

1912 News of Titanic sinking reaches NZ

Although no New Zealanders were aboard the world’s largest passenger ship when it sank in the chilly North Atlantic with appalling loss of life due to a lack of lifeboats, the country followed the news closely. more...

NZ Rugby Union founded

1892 NZ Rugby Union founded

As rugby increased in popularity, it became more important to standardise the running of the game in the colony. Despite some opposition, a New Zealand Rugby Football Union was founded.

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Apr

18

Gilfillan killings near Whanganui

1847 Gilfillan killings near Whanganui

A Māori raid on the Gilfillan farm at Matarawa, near Whanganui, left four family members dead. The artist John Gilfillan and one of his daughters were severely wounded. more...

Apr

19

Royal honour awarded to NZ woman for first time

1884 Royal honour awarded to NZ woman for first time

The Royal Red Cross was awarded to Miss Alice Crisp, matron of Auckland Hospital, in a ceremony at Government House, Auckland. more...

Liberals 'burst up' Cheviot Estate

1893 Liberals 'burst up' Cheviot Estate

In the 1890s the Liberal government was determined to break up large estates for closer settlement by small farmers. The first major purchase under this policy was of the Cheviot Estate in North Canterbury.

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Allison Roe wins Boston marathon

1981 Allison Roe wins Boston marathon

Allison Roe won the prestigious Boston race, taking nearly 8 minutes off the previous course record. She followed this performance six months later with victory in the New York marathon. more...

Apr

21

First Golden Shears competition

1961 First Golden Shears competition

First held at the Masterton War Memorial Stadium in 1961, the Golden Shears competition has become the iconic event for the shearing and wool-handling industry in New Zealand.

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Dave McKenzie wins the Boston Marathon

1967 Dave McKenzie wins the Boston Marathon

The 24-year-old McKenzie won the prestigious race in a course record of 2:15:45 ahead of American Tom Laris and Yutaka Aoki of Japan. He was the first New Zealander to win the Boston Marathon. more...

Apr

22

Rātana and Labour seal alliance

1936 Rātana and Labour seal alliance

The alliance between the Rātana Church and the Labour Party was cemented at an historic meeting between T.W. Rātana and Prime Minister M.J. Savage on 22 April 1936.

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Apr

23

Blair Peach killed in London

1979 Blair Peach killed in London

New Zealander Blair Peach was killed during a clash between police and protesters at an anti-fascism rally in Southall, London.

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Prince William meets 'buzzy bee'

1983 Prince William meets 'buzzy bee'

The Prince and Princess of Wales played with their infant son Prince William and New Zealand's iconic children’s toy, the buzzy bee, on the lawn at
Government House, Auckland.

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Apr

24

New Zealand's first poppy day

1922 New Zealand's first poppy day

A total of 245,059 small poppies and 15,157 larger versions were sold, earning £13,166. Of that amount, £3,695 was sent to help war-ravaged areas of northern France; the remainder went to unemployed returned soldiers and their families. more...

Sinking of the <em>Hellas</em>

1941 Sinking of the Hellas

Disaster struck during the evacuation of Allied forces from Greece when a large number of civilians and Commonwealth troops, including New Zealanders, were killed while they were boarding the Greek yacht Hellas at the port of Piraeus, near Athens.

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NZ medics start work in South Vietnam

1963 NZ medics start work in South Vietnam

On Anzac Day 1963, a six-strong New Zealand civilian surgical team arrived in Qui Nhon, South Vietnam as part of the Colombo Plan assistance programme. Their deployment marked the beginning of New Zealand’s involvement in the Vietnam War. more...

Apr

26

NZ ship torpedoed in Tasman

1943 NZ ship torpedoed in Tasman

The Union Steam Ship Company freighter Limerick was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine off the New South Wales coast. Two of its crew were lost. more...

Civil unions come into effect

2005 Civil unions come into effect

Couples − heterosexual or homosexual − were now able to register their relationship as a civil union. All couples in New Zealand, whether married, in a civil union, or in a de facto partnership now had equal legal rights and obligations.

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Apr

27

Death of Premier John Ballance

1893 Death of Premier John Ballance

Ballance was the first Liberal premier. He laid the foundation for a government that was widely seen as making New Zealand ‘the social laboratory of the world’.

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Apr

28

First British rugby team to play in NZ

1888 First British rugby team to play in NZ

The first British rugby team to tour New Zealand won its first match, against Otago at the Caledonian Ground in South Dunedin. more...

Jack Hinton wins the Victoria Cross

1941 Jack Hinton wins the Victoria Cross

Southlander Jack Hinton was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on the night of 28 April 1941 at Kalamata during the evacuation from Greece. more...

131 perish in worst civilian shipwreck in NZ waters

1881 131 perish in worst civilian shipwreck in NZ waters

The steamer Tararua, en route from Port Chalmers to Melbourne, struck a reef at Waipapa Point, Southland. Of the 151 passengers and crew on board, 131 were lost, including 12 women and 14 children.

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Apr

30

William Sanders wins New Zealand's only VC in a naval action

1917 William Sanders wins New Zealand's only VC in a naval action

Aucklander William Sanders was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery when the Q-ship he commanded was attacked by a German U-boat on 30 April 1917. He is the only New Zealander to have won the award in a naval action. more...

Pai Mārire defeated at Sentry Hill, Taranaki

1864 Pai Mārire defeated at Sentry Hill, Taranaki

In one of their first military efforts, several hundred Pai Mārire warriors attacked a British redoubt at Te Mōrere (Sentry Hill) in Taranaki. Scores were killed or wounded.

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Ex-Governor FitzRoy commits suicide

1865 Ex-Governor FitzRoy commits suicide

Robert FitzRoy, the second governor of New Zealand (1843-45), took his own life at his home in Surrey. Opinion on his governorship has always been divided. more...