Events In History
30 July 1979Carless 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. Read more...
15 September 1976Lyttelton–Wellington ferry service ends
The last sailing of the Rangatira brought to an end more than 80 years of regular passenger ferry services between Lyttelton and Wellington. Read more...
21 December 1971Full steam ahead for Kingston Flyer
A few months after the last steam locomotives had been withdrawn from this country's scheduled rail operations, New Zealand Railways launched a new tourist-oriented steam passenger venture in the South Island. Read more...
25 October 1971End of the line for steam railways
The Christchurch-Dunedin overnight express, headed by a JA-class locomotive, ran the last scheduled steam-hauled service on New Zealand Railways, bringing to an end 108 years of regular steam rail operations in this country. Read more...
2 May 1964NZ's last electric tram trip
Tram no. 252, displaying the message ‘end of the line’, travelled from Thorndon to the zoo in Newtown, Wellington, bringing an end to the use of electric trams in New Zealand. Read more...
11 August 1962Picton ferry Aramoana enters service
The country's first roll-on roll-off ferry, New Zealand Railways' Aramoana revolutionised transport between the North and South islands. Read more...
30 May 1959Auckland harbour bridge opened
The four-lane bridge was built across the narrowest part of Auckland Harbour, between St Marys Bay and Northcote Point. It took four years to complete and soon had to be enlarged. Read more...
21 August 1958Auckland pedestrians begin 'Barnes Dance'
Auckland became the first city in New Zealand to introduce the ‘Barnes Dance’ street-crossing system, which stopped all traffic and allowed pedestrians to cross intersections in any direction at the same time. Read more...
24 December 1953Tangiwai railway disaster
The worst railway disaster in New Zealand's history occurred on Christmas Eve 1953, when the Wellington-Auckland night express plunged into the flooded Whangaehu River at Tangiwai. Of the 285 people on board, 151 were killed. Read more...
2 July 1938Electric 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. Read more...
6 July 1923Main 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. Read more...
7 August 1908First train runs length of main trunk line
The 'Parliament Special' travelled over a makeshift track in the central section of the still-unfinished main trunk line. It carried MPs north to greet the American navy's 'Great White Fleet'. Read more...
24 August 1878Wellington steam-tram service opened
The Governor, the Marquess of Normanby, opened the new service, reportedly the first to operate in the Southern Hemisphere. The unpopular steam-powered trams were later replaced by horse-drawn trams. Read more...
11 October 1861First Cobb & Co. coach service runs to Otago goldfields
In its first venture from Dunedin to Gabriel's Gully in Central Otago, Cobb & Co. reduced the time for the trip from two days to nine hours. Read more...
\Today there are 120 MPs in New Zealand's Parliament, which is a far cry from the 37 who met for the first time in Auckland in 1854.
Page 4 – Pay and travel
One of the early issues parliamentarians discussed was pay for MPs, and one of the biggest difficulties MPs faced in the early years was travelling to Parliament.
All aboard! The North Island main trunk railway is 100 years old in 2008. Take a trip back in time to explore the epic construction of the line, the heyday of the steam passenger train and the place of the iconic railway refreshment room in New Zealand life.
Page 3 – Rise and fall
A history of the North Island railway main trunk line since the first through train left Wellington on 7 August 1908
Page 4 – Travelling by train
For most second-class travellers, travelling the main trunk meant a long, sleepless journey on hard-backed seats, struggling to find 'elusive comfort with the NZR pillow'.
Page 5 – Refreshments
Refreshments are an essential and often talked about part of any train journey.
The disasters timeline and map give an overview of New Zealand's worst natural disasters, transport accidents, fires, mining accidents and other tragedies that have caused major loss of life.
- Page 1 - New Zealand disasters timelineThe disasters timeline and map give an overview of New Zealand's worst natural disasters, transport accidents, fires, mining accidents and other tragedies that have caused major
Before most people had cars or telephones, let alone television and the Internet, the railway provided many communities with their main connection to the outside world.
- Page 1 - Railway stationsBefore most people had cars or telephones, let alone television and the Internet, the railway provided many communities with their main connection to the outside
New Zealand's worst railway disaster occurred 60 years ago on Christmas Eve 1953, when the Wellington–Auckland night express plunged into the swollen Whangaehu River near Tangiwai. Of the 285 people on board, 151 were killed. The tragedy stunned the world and left a nation in mourning.
- Page 1 - Tangiwai railway disasterNew Zealand's worst railway disaster occurred 60 years ago on Christmas Eve 1953, when the Wellington–Auckland night express plunged into the swollen Whangaehu River near
Key statistics and facts about the forces of Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, Germany and the Ottoman Empire during the First World War
- Page 1 - Central PowersKey statistics and facts about the forces of Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, Germany and the Ottoman Empire during the First World
Between 1914 and 1916 the New Zealand government acquired more than 10,000 horses to equip the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. They served in German Samoa, Gallipoli, the Middle East and on the Western Front. Of those that survived the war, only four returned home.
Page 3 – Transporting horses from NZ
Nearly all of the 10,000 horses the government acquired for the New Zealand Expeditionary Force between 1914 and 1916 went overseas.
Page 5 – Egypt and Gallipoli
Some draught horses accompanied the divisional artillery and transport and supply units to Gallipoli in April 1915 to assist with their work. But the conditions proved
3 September is Merchant Navy Day, which was first officially commemorated in New Zealand in 2010. The date marks the sinking of the first Allied merchant ship in 1939, just hours after the Second World War began. This is the story of the 'fourth service' at war.
- Page 2 - The longest lifelineAn island nation half a world away from its main trading partner, New Zealand in the mid-20th century was overwhelmingly dependent on sea transport for its prosperity and
On a fine, calm day ‘Cruising on the Interislander’ can be like a luxury Mediterranean cruise. But on a bad day Cook Strait can be one of the world's roughest stretches of water: seasickness, dodgy food and wildcat strikes have all been part of the colourful Cook Strait ferry story.
Page 2 – 'The floating bridge'
Before 1962 rail struggled to compete with ships for inter-island business, but the road/rail ferries changed that.
Page 3 – 'An array of awful pies'
In the 1960s, the ferries' food and services fell short of the glossy ads, but now they are more upmarket.
Page 4 – Rough crossings
Crossing Cook Strait is often idyllic, but it can be one of the world’s roughest stretches of water as it's part of the westerly wind belt known as the Roaring Forties
Page 5 – Branding the Cook Strait ferries
From 'puke' green to funnells sprouting ferns, the ferries' branding and appearance have had many changes.
Page 6 – Strikes and strandings
Cook Strait ferries were vital to the flow of freight and passengers between the North and South islands, and interruptions because of bad weather, mechanical problems
Page 7 – Fast ferries on Cook Strait
The old fable about the tortoise and the hare was replayed on Cook Strait as fast ferries offered travellers a quick dash across the ditch.
Exploration of everyday life in New Zealand from 1900 to the mid-1980s
- Page 4 - Bridging the gapThe transformation of space through new communication and transport systems was a preoccupation in nineteenth-century New Zealand; twentieth-century society was no less intent on
New Zealand is a country of immigrants. Wave after wave of peoples have settled here: Polynesian, British, European, Asian.
- Page 4 - The voyage outThe Captain Cook, along with the Captain Hobson, brought assisted immigrants to New Zealand via the Panama Canal from
In 1870, Colonial Treasurer Julius Vogel launched the most ambitious development programme in New Zealand’s history. The ‘Vogel era’ was a decisive moment in New Zealand’s 19th-century transformation from a Māori world to a Pākehā one.
- Page 2 - New Zealand in 1870Three decades after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand’s two main islands were like two different
For more than 80 years the overnight Lyttelton ferry was a vital link in the country's transport network.
- Page 4 - Politicians and ferriesPoliticians used the ferries to travel between their electorates and Wellington, so they scrutinised the Union Steam Ship Company's management of the
Until the late 1960s New Zealand's Governors-General were British, mainly minor aristocrats or admirals or generals.
- Page 7 - The Governor-General on the moveHow the Governors-General moved about the
From the late 19th century the expanding rail network opened up exciting leisure and tourism opportunities for ordinary New Zealand families. New Zealand Railways promoted rail holidays through bright, attractive posters and its own popular monthly magazine.
- Page 6 - Post-war changesAfter the peak years of the 1920s and late 1930s, tourist travel all but ceased during the Second World War.
- gallipoli campaign
- anzac cove
- new zealand mounted rifles
- auckland city
- auckland harbour board
- historic places
- wellington city
- famous firsts
- frank kitts
- queen elizabeth
- otago region
- public works
- dan sullivan
- thomas hislop
- julius vogel
- new zealand wars
- tangiwai disaster
- western front
- pioneer battalion
- passchendaele offensive
- maori in war
- cook strait
- merchant navy
- central powers
- austro-hungarian empire
- ottoman empire
- railway stations
- great white fleet
- women in politics
- Maori MPs
- assisted immigration
- legislative council
- maori land
- merchant marine
- denis blundell
- camel corps
- palestine campaign
- le quesnoy liberation
- state housing
- glen innes
- william cargill
- edmund hillary
- scott base
- lord ranfurly
- mau movement
- north african campaign
- cape helles
- lord plunket
- coal mining
- pacific war
- whanganui city
- whanganui river
- radio broadcasts
- air transport
- erebus disaster
- wahine disaster
- hawkes bay earthquake