Historical Timeline of N.Z Disasters

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    New Zealands Biggest disasters

  • Wairapa Earthquake

    Wairapa Earthquake
    A magnitude 8.2 earthquake struck in Wellington, Manawatū and Wairapa struck killing between five and nine people.
  • City of Dunedin shipwreck

    City of Dunedin shipwreck
    The ship left Wellington on 20 May and there was no trace was ever found of Captain James Parker Boyd and his 24 crew and his 22 passengers.
  • Kaitangata mine accident

    Kaitangata mine accident
    34 miners were killed in an explosion at the Kaitangata coal mine in Otago.
  • Tararua shipwreck

    Tararua shipwreck
    The steamer Tararua was wrecked off Waipapa Point, Southland. Of the 151 passengers and crew on board, 131 were lost in the worst civilian shipwreck in New Zealand waters.
  • Tarawera eruption

    Tarawera eruption
    The volcano Mt Tarawera, south-east of Rotorua, erupted killing about 120 people and burying the famous Pink and White Terraces on Lake Rotomahana.
  • Brunner mine accident

    Brunner mine accident
    An explosion happened at Brunner, West Coast, which killed 65 coal miners in New Zealand’s worst mining disaster.
  • Penguin shipwreck

    Penguin shipwreck
    The Cook Strait ferry Penguin struck rocks off Cape Terawhiti and sank with the loss of 72 lives.
  • Murchison earthquake

    Murchison earthquake
    An earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale struck the north of the South Island, killing 17 people. The shock was felt throughout New Zealand but centred on the Murchison area, where it caused massive landslides.
  • Hawke’s Bay earthquake

    Hawke’s Bay earthquake
    New Zealand’s deadliest earthquake, measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, devastated much of Napier and Hastings. The death toll was 258.
  • Ballantyne’s fire

    Ballantyne’s fire
    41 people were killed in New Zealand’s deadliest fire, in the Ballantyne’s Department Store in Christchurch.
  • Ranui shipwreck

    Ranui shipwreck
    The passenger launch Ranui, returning from a holiday trip to Mayor Island, was wrecked on North Rock, Mt Maunganui. Out of the 23 people on board, only one survived.
  • Tangiwai railway accident

    Tangiwai railway accident
    A North Island main trunk express plunged off the Tangiwai bridge into the Whangaehu River. The bridge had been fatally weakened by a lahar from Mt Ruapehu’s crater lake. Of the 285 people on board, 151 were killed. This is New Zealand’s worst rail disaster.
  • Wahine shipwreck

    Wahine shipwreck
    Wellington ferry Wahine struck Barrett Reef at the entrance to Wellington Harbour in atrocious conditions caused by tropical cyclone Giselle. Of the 734 passengers and crew on board, 51 died.
  • Mt Erebus air crash

    Mt Erebus air crash
    An Air New Zealand DC-10 airliner, on a sightseeing flight to Antarctica, crashed into Mt Erebus. All 257 passengers and crew were killed in New Zealand’s worst air disaster.
  • Cave Creek disaster

    Cave Creek disaster
    A Department of Conservation viewing platform built over a cliff at Cave Creek in the West Coast’s Paparoa National Park collapsed, killing 14 people.
  • Tongariro tragedy

    Tongariro tragedy
    6 students and their teacher from Auckland’s Elim Christian College drowned in a canyoning accident while participating in an outdoor education programme near the Tongariro National Park.
  • Pike River mine accident

    Pike River mine accident
    Two explosions on 19 and 24 November resulted in the deaths of 29 coalminers at the Pike River mine on the West Coast. It was this country's worst mining disaster since 1914.
  • Carterton balloon tragedy

    Carterton balloon tragedy
    At 7.30 a.m. on 7 January 11 people five couples and the pilot were killed in a balloon accident near Carterton. A fire ignited on board causing the hot air balloon to crash in farmland. It is New Zealand's worst ballooning accident.
  • Christchurch earthquake

    Christchurch earthquake
    At 12.51 p.m a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck 10 km south-east of central Christchurch at a depth of only 5 km. The death toll was 185, making it New Zealand’s worst natural disaster in terms of loss of life since 1931.