Pages tagged with: crime

The sensational murder trial of Daniel and Martha Cooper revealed that the difficulties facing single mothers and unwanted children continued well into the 20th century.
In 1895 Southland's Williamina (Minnie) Dean became the first – and only – woman to be hanged in New Zealand. Her story exposed the stark realities of paid childcare and the lack of choice that many women faced in this period.
High-profile British and Australian court cases in the 1880s introduced New Zealanders to the sinister practices of baby farmers: paid caregivers who neglected children in their care, concealed their deaths or deliberately murdered the infants.
An attempted hijacking of an Air New Zealand Boeing 747 at Nadi airport, Fiji, was thwarted when a member of the cabin crew struck the hijacker on the head with a whisky bottle.
Baby farmers were paid caregivers who allegedly neglected children in their care, concealed their deaths or deliberately murdered the infants. The most notorious was Minnie Dean, who, in August 1895, became the first (and only) woman to be hanged for murder in New Zealand.
In 1923 the New Zealand Truth featured dramatic reports of the trial and execution of Newlands baby famer Daniel Cooper.
New Zealand Railways reward notice
The 'Burgess gang' murdered and thieved their way around the South Island during the 1860s. Their most notorious crime was five killings over two days in June 1866, on the Maungatapu track near Nelson. Now you can read their story in a new virtual comic book.
On 7 March 1842 Maketu Wharetotara, the 17-year-old son of the Nga Puhi chief Ruhe of Waimate, became the first official execution in New Zealand.
This web feature was written by Steve Watters and produced by the NZHistory.net.nz team. LinksCarl Völkner biographyMaketu biographyMokomoko biographyNotable trials People executed in New Zealand (Wikipedia) BooksSherwood Young, Guilty on the gallows, Grantham House, Wellington, 1998
Between Maketu's execution in 1842 and Walter Bolton in 1957, there were a further 82 executions.
Further reading and links to information about the Maungatapu murders
On 7 March 1842 Maketu Wharetotara, the 17-year-old son of the Ngāpuhi chief Ruhe of Waimate, became the first person to be legally executed in New Zealand.
Walter Bolton was the last person to be executed in New Zealand when he was convicted of poisoning his wife, Beatrice. He was hanged for her murder at Mount Eden prison. The death penalty for murder was abolished in New Zealand in 1961, and there were claims that this was due partly to the circumstances surrounding Bolton's case.
The first execution in New Zealand was that of a young Maori named Maketu, convicted at Auckland in 1842. Walter Bolton became the last to be executed when he was hanged at Mount Eden prison in 1957. In total there were 83 verified executions for murder and one for treason in New Zealand between these dates.
As a consequence of the post-war economic boom there was increasing demand for consumer goods. The 1956 census revealed that more than half of New Zealand homes possessed washing machines, refrigerators and electric ovens.
Minnie Dean's trial for murdering a baby placed in her care began at the Invercargill Supreme Court. The 'Winton baby-farmer' was found guilty three days later and hanged on 12 August.
A generation after the execution of the infamous Minnie Dean, the murder trial of Daniel and Martha Cooper revealed that 'baby farming' was still seen as a solution to the problem of unwanted children in 1920s New Zealand.
Graham shot dead three policemen and mortally wounded two other men before escaping into the bush. One of New Zealand's largest manhunts ended when Graham was shot and mortally wounded on 20 October.
Pauline Parker, aged 16, and Juliet Hulme, 15, were convicted of the murder of Pauline's mother Honora at Christchurch on 22 June. Their story was later the subject of Peter Jackson's film Heavenly Creatures.

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