History of New Zealand from 1200

The aim of this timeline of New Zealand history is to provide a basis for the research work of Project 2058 .

Download a History of New Zealand in 50 year blocks.

YearEvent
~1200The first Polynesian waka destined for settlement in New Zealand arrive from the Pacific Islands. (Dench, 2005)
Earlier voyages by Polynesian sailors would have located these new isles. It appears that these voyagers would have returned to their homes and passed on the knowledge of what they had found, and then later voyages deliberately set out to settle the new land.
~1400Moa and some other native rarities become extinct, probably through over-hunting and habitat alteration through fire. (Dench, 2005)
~1500Māori populations become more settled as resources become less abundant and the importance of cultivation increases.
1642
Dec 13Abel Tasman and his party first sight the West Coast of New Zealand. (Reed, 1979)
1769
Oct 7Nicholas Young, Captain James Cook's ship's boy, sights New Zealand from aboard the Endeavour. (Reed, 1979)
Cook names the sighted land after Nicholas, as Young Nick's Head. Cook's expedition, with biologists Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander, goes ashore multiple times during their stay, meeting Māori, collecting food and recording flora and fauna. Cook leaves New Zealand in April, 1770, returning again in 1772.
Dec 12The French ship St Jean Baptiste, captained by Jean de Surville, first sights New Zealand. (Reed, 1979)
The ship leaves New Zealand, after kidnapping a Māori chief, at the end of December.
1772
Mar 24Captain Marion du Fresne sights New Zealand. (Reed, 1979)
After originally being welcomed by Māori in the Bay of Islands, du Fresne and a number of his men are later killed. In his absence, the remaining officers on his ships take possession "in the name of His Majesty King Louis XV… the continent of… New Zealand…".
1773The first sheep in New Zealand are released in Queen Charlotte Sound by Captain Cook. (Reed, 1979)
1794Flax and timber exports begin, originating in the Firth of Thames. (Carden, 2007)
1796
Oct 26The first recorded European whaling vessel, the Mermaid, enters New Zealand waters searching for sperm whales. (Reed, 1979)
1805Seal exports begin. (Reed, 1979)
Early non-Māori settlers included sealers and whalers who often set up camp near hunting spots for short periods of time.
1809
DecThe crew and most of the passengers of the Boyd are massacred at Whangaroa. (Reed, 1979)
1814
Jun 24A meeting is held in Sydney to form the New South Wales New Zealand Company . (Reed, 1979)
Nov 9NSW Governor Macquarie issues an order to protect "the natives of New Zealand...in all their rights and priveleges". (Reed, 1979)
Dec 19 Reverend Samuel Marsden arrives in the Bay of Islands. (Reed, 1979)
At this point, a number of Church Missionary Services (under the Church of England) workers were beginning to arrive in New Zealand, particularly in the Bay of Islands, where a number of missionary stations were consequently set up.
1816
Aug 12First school for Māori children is opened by Thomas Kendall. (Reed, 1979)
1820Intertribal fighting between Māori, known as the Musket Wars, begins. The Wars last till 1839 with fighting peaking around 1832-33. (Reed, 1979)
The newly acquired muskets provided the means for committing utu (revenge) by groups with historical grievances against others. The Wars led to considerable movement of Māori populations, with a general progression of iwi moving southwards, down the country.
1823
MarPotatoes are being cultivated by Māori in the Bay of Islands. (Reed, 1979)
The "Snapper" left Ruapuke Island with a large cargo of potatoes on March 5th. Horticulture was to prove an import means of income for many Māori.
1824
May 17Governor Brisbane of New South Wales issues a Proclamation enforcing the jurisdiction of the New South Wales courts in New Zealand. (Reed, 1979)
1827
Dec 29One of the earliest recorded land purchases by European is made by John Johnston of land at Kororareka. (Reed, 1979)
1835
Jan 6The first authenticated export of wool from New Zealand is made, sent by James Clendon in the Bay of Islands. (Reed, 1979)
Feb 21William Colenso produces the first book to be printed in New Zealand - the Epistles to the Philippians and Ephesians in Māori. (Reed, 1979)
Colenso goes on to start printing 5000 copies of the Bible in Māori in June 1836.
Sep 14Baron de Thierry sends notice to James Busby that he is on his way to New Zealand to establish a Sovereign Government on behalf of France. (Reed, 1979)
Oct 10Busby calls a meeting with 35 Māori chiefs at Waitangi in order to sign a Declaration of Independence in the name of the Confederation of Chiefs and Tribes of New Zealand. (Reed, 1979)
Busby calls this meeting as a result of receiving de Thierry's letter. Notice is sent to De Thierry of the Declaration. In September 1836, from Sydney, de Thierry issues an address to residents of New Zealand, claiming sovereignty. de Thierry, self-styled "Sovereign Chief of New Zealand" arrives in the Hokianga on November 4th 1837.
1839
Mar 28William Wakefield is appointed as the leader of the New Zealand Company's first settlement. (Reed, 1979)
1840
Jan 22From this date to March 7th, the first five immigrant ships of the New Zealand Company arrive in the country carrying settlers bound for Wellington and the Hawkes Bay. (Reed, 1979)
Feb 6The gathered chiefs spend two days in a hui, prior to its signing, in order to decide what to do. The Treaty is then taken around the country for further signing by Māori leaders.
Apr 29Dumont d'Urville, leading the French ships Astrolabe and Zelee , arrives in the Bay of Islands, only to find that the British have already taken possession of the North Island. (Reed, 1979)
D'Urville and crew had just spent around a month sailing around South Island harbours, ignorant of the political events unfolding in the north of New Zealand, and essentially losing the chance for France to become the primary coloniser of the country.
Sep 4The New Zealand banking Company opens the first New Zealand-owned bank at Kororareka. (Reed, 1979)
Dec 9Governor William Hobson moves the capital to Auckland from Kororareka (Russell). (Reed, 1979)
1841
May 3New Zealand officially becomes a British Crown Colony. (Reed, 1979)
Jul 1Duties imposed on imports and exports (except tobacco) between New Zealand and Australia. (Reed, 1979)
1842
Jan 6Led by Pomare and Hone Heke, more than one thousand Māori people gather at Paihia to express discontent with the Government. (Reed, 1979)
Apr 4
Dec 10
1843
Jun 1Te Rauparaha and Te Rangihaeta land in the Wairau Valley and burn surveyors' huts. (Reed, 1979)
This marks the beginnings of souring relationships between lower-North Island Māori and the European settlers and the start of the Land Wars, which ran from 1843 till around 1872, mainly in the Taranaki and Waikato.
1844
Jul 8Between this date and March 1945, Hone Heke and supporters cut down the British flagstaff at Kororareka four times. (Reed, 1979)
On the last occasion, Hone Heke's supporters ransack Russell, leading to the evacuation of settlers to Auckland and the proclamation of martial law. Fighting between Māori and settlers continues, culminating in a battle at Ruapekapeka Pa in January 1846, with Hone Heke and Rawiti, losing to the British forces.
1845
Aug 25
1846
JanThe first steamship, HMS Driver , arrives in the country. (Carden, 2007)
Over the next few decades the increasing use of steamships meant that the movement of people and products around New Zealand and overseas became faster.
1848
Jan 3030,000 merino sheep arrive at the Pourere run, the first in the Hawkes Bay region. (Reed, 1979)
The first stud merino sheep arrive in Otago in 1862.
Feb 21The principal of the eight-hour day is recognised in Dunedin. (Reed, 1979)
1851
Oct 27Gold is discovered in quartz in Goodwood, Otago. (Reed, 1979)
Further discoveries in Tuapeka and Gabriel's Gully in 1861 fuel the Otago goldrush. Gold is also discovered in the Coromandel in 1852
1853
Aug 10Māori claims to land in the South Island are liquidated with the Waipounamu Purchase. (Reed, 1979)
1855
Jul 3rdKatatore and Wiremu Kingi attack Ninia pa. (Reed, 1979)
These actions eventually lead to the involvement of all tribes in the Taranaki wars.
Jul 28Coal is discovered in Milton. Coal is discovered near Haast in May 1960. (Reed, 1979)
1856
Apr 11Quarantine regulations for the colony are gazetted. (Reed, 1979)
1857
Jun 10Land is gifted for the establishment of Te Aute College, a school for Māori boys, by Reverend Samuel Williams. (Reed, 1979)
The school was to produce many Māori leaders, including Te Rangihiroa (Sir Peter Buck), Apirana Ngata and Maui Pomare.
1858
May 2The first King of the Kingitanga movement, Potatau Te Wherowhero, is crowned at Ngarawahia. (Reed, 1979)
1861Systematic recording of weather data begins.
1862
Jan 1The first mouse is seen on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. (Reed, 1979)
1863
Apr 19Formation of the Canterbury Acclimatisation Society. (Reed, 1979)
Typical of a number of Acclimatisation Societies around New Zealand, the Society would attempt to release many exotic animals over the coming years, from caribou to nightingales. Some introductions were more successful than others.
May 9Gas lamps are first lit in the streets of Dunedin. (Reed, 1979)
Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington follow suit, respectively, over the next five years.
Dec 2The New Zealand Settlements Act is passed. (Reed, 1979)
The Act allows for the confiscation of all land (raupatu), without compensation for all North Island tribes said to be acting against the Crown. This was particularly useful for the colonial government in the Waikato and Taranaki areas where the Land Wars were the most intense. New European settlers were given confiscated the land. By December 1864, 1.2 million acres of Māori land had been confiscated under the Act.
1864
Feb 7Parliament moves to Wellington after a recommendation that the capital is more central in the country. (Reed, 1979)
Jul 28The first cargo of coal is shipped from the West Coast. (Reed, 1979)
Dec 141.2 million acres of Māori land are confiscated under the Settlements Act.
DecThe first shipment of wool direct to Britain is made. (Reed, 1979)
1865
May 15Telegraphic services between Dunedin and Christchurch are established. (Reed, 1979)
In August 1866, a submarine telegraphic cable is laid across the Cook Strait, linking Wellington with a number of South Island towns. Telegraphic communication with Auckland and the southern provinces was established in April 1872. A cable linking New Zealand and Australia was operating in February 1876, allowing communication with Great Britain.

The Native Rights Act deems Māori to be natural-born subjects of the Crown. (Reed, 1979)
This confirmed in law the Section 3 of Te Tiriti that Māori were to be accorded the same rights and priveleges as other British subjects.
1866
Jan 6Oil and gas are discovered at Moturoa, New Plymouth, at a depth of around 6 metres. (Reed, 1979)
1867
Oct 10Four Māori seats established in Parliament. (Reed, 1979)
1868New Zealand Standard Time, an agreed time zone, is established. (Carden, 2007)
1869
Jun 3New Zealand's first university, the University of Otago, is founded. (Reed, 1979)
1870During this decade many rail lines were completed and opened, particularly around Auckland, Wellington and Lower Hutt, and between Christchurch, Dunedin and Central Otago. (Reed, 1979)
Rail line building goes on until well into the next century - most of it undertaken at the behest of Colonial Treasurer, Julius Vogel. The first train travels between Wellington and Auckland on in July 1907. Rail connections were slowest in the Far North, with Whangarei being connected to Auckland, finally, in November, 1925.

Mail service between San Francisco and Auckland is established. (Reed, 1979)

The last of the British Imperial troops leave New Zealand. (Carden, 2007)

The first official rugby match in the country is played between Nelson College and Nelson Football Club. (Carden, 2007)
1871
Jul 5 Inaugural ceremony at Otago University. (Reed, 1979)
During the first semester, Robert Stout wrote an editorial calling for woman to have equal educational advantages as men. Women were allowed to attend classes and sit examinations by August of that same year.
Aug 22Establishment of the first dairying co-operative company on the Otago Peninsula. (Reed, 1979)
1873The passing of 'Bradshaw's' Act sees the employment of women in factories retricted to eight hours a day. (Carden, 2007)
The Act was amended in 1975 to restrict child labour to four hours a day.
1876The Rabbit Nuisance Act is passed. (Reed, 1979)
Three years later, ferrets are released in an attempt to control the burgeoning rabbit population. The ferrets instead decimate the much easier to catch native birds. Stoats and weasels are also released in 1885.
1877The Chief Justice, Sir James Prendergast, declares Te Tiriti "worthless" and "a simple nullity" and takes the view that 'native title' could not be recognised or granted by the courts.
This occurs at the end of a case against the Bishop of Wellington, brought by Wi Parata. This statement influences judicial decisions on Te Tiriti issues for many decades to come
Aug 1First closed season of the Bluff oyster fishery in the Foveaux Strait. (Reed, 1979)
The fishery remained closed until February 1879.

The Education Act is passed, providing primary education for all children. (Carden, 2007)
1878
Oct 26Thomas Bracken's 'God Defend New Zealand' is first published, later becoming New Zealand's national anthem. (Reed, 1979)
1879
May 26Under orders from Te Whiti, Māori begin ploughing up the land of European settlers at Parihaka. (Reed, 1979)
1882
Feb 15The first refrigerated shipment of meat and diary on board the Dunedin leaves Port Chalmers for London. (Reed, 1979)
The activities of Chow Chong, an immigrant from China, over the past decade in improving the delivery of butter (by cutting it in one pound blocks and wrapping in greaseproof paper) helped to pave the way for shipping refrigerated dairy products. (Carden, 2007).
Apr 26A telephone exchange opens in Dunedin. (Reed, 1979)
An exchange opens in Wellington in March the next year. Further towns open their own exchanges, but it takes a few years for inter-town communications to begin. Christchurch and Dunedin are linked in February 1887.
Nov 2Electricity lights up a house for the first time in Auckland. (Reed, 1979)
Electricity makes its public debut in Auckland when three arc lights are lit for Christmas on Queen Street in December 1887. In 1887 Reefton is the first town in New Zealand, and Gore the second, to have electricity.
1883
Apr 26Mount Tongariro erupts violently . (Reed, 1979)
May 21The opening ceremony of Auckland University College takes place. (Reed, 1979)
1884The first New Zealand rugby team to tour overseas visits New South Wales, winning all games. (Reed, 1979)
The New Zealand Rugby Football Union is established in April 1892. A team called the All Blacks first plays in Somerset County, UK, in October 1905.
Dec 25The first ascent of Mt Cook is made. (Reed, 1979)
1885
Sep 14The New Zealand State Forests Act is passed. (Reed, 1979)
1886
Jun 10Mt Tarawera erupts, destroying the famed Pink and White Terraces and killing 153 people. (Reed, 1979)
Less than two weeks prior to the eruption, tourists on Lake Tarawera report seeing a phantom canoe on the water.

The Anchor brand of butter is first produced in the Waikato. (Reed, 1979)
1887Te Heuheu Tokino of Tuwharetoa, gifts land around Tongariro, Ruapehu and Ngarahoe, becoming New Zealand's first national park. (Reed, 1979)
1888
May 7A mass meeting is held in Dunedin to discuss the question of the 'Yellow Peril' (Chinese immigration). (Reed, 1979)
In September 1905, a fanatic, Lionel Terry, murders a Chinese person in Wellington in order to bring attention to his cause.
1891
Mar 26The country's first agricultural conference is held in Christchurch over two days. (Reed, 1979)
1892The first Kotahitanga Māori Parliament meets. (Reed, 1979)
1893
May 1Richard Seddon takes the office of Premier following the death of John Ballance. (Reed, 1979)
Sep 8The Women's Franchise bill is passed. Women first vote in the Parliamentary elections in December 1893. (Reed, 1979)
1898First cars to be imported into New Zealand arrive. (Reed, 1979)
1899
Oct 11New Zealand declares joins Britain in the Boer War. (Reed, 1979)
Oct 19Labour Day is celebrated for the first time. (Reed, 1979)
1900
Feb 10Four moose arrive in Wellington, later to be released in Hokitika Valley. (Reed, 1979)
May 20Kapiti Island is declared a reserve under the Animals Protection Act 1880. (Reed, 1979)
1901
Jun 11Cornwall Park is gifted to the city of Auckland by Sir John Logan Campbell. (Reed, 1979)
1904
Nov 72 326 000 acres of Western Southland are temporarily reserved for a National Park. (Reed, 1979)
Fiordland National Park is made permanent in February 1905
1906
Jun 10Premier Richard Seddon dies of a heart attack aboard a ship bound from Sydney for New Zealand.
1907
Apr 28Elsdon Best completes his huge study, Tuhoe . (Reed, 1979)
May 14The Plunket Society is founded by Truby King. (Reed, 1979)
Sep 26The Colony of New Zealand officially becomes the Dominion of New Zealand. (Reed, 1979)

The Tohunga Suppression Act is passed.
1908
Dec 10Ernest Rutherford wins the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on the form of atoms and nuclear physics. (Reed, 1979)
1909
Dec 24Compulsory military training is introduced. (Reed, 1979)
1910
Feb 24Seven moose, gifted by the Canadian Government, are released at Supper Cover, Dusky Sound. (Reed, 1979)
1912
Nov 22The first car journey along the 'centre route' between Wellington and Auckland commences. (Reed, 1979)
1913
Nov 22Striking dockside workers in Wellington place their case in the hands of the Federation of Labour, causing a nation-wide strike of dockside workers, and threatening the national economy. (Reed, 1979)
This leads to a series of clashes between government 'specials' and workers and the occupation of Auckland wharves by over a thousand farmers. The strike ends on 20th December.
1914
Mar 3Britain purchases all of New Zealand's meat exports from this time until 1920. (Reed, 1979)
Aug 4World War I commences. New Zealand joins the war on August 5th. (Reed, 1979)
NZ Expeditionary Force leaves New Zealand on October 16th. More troops follow, including the Maori Contingent. Troops are originally sent to Apia, Turkey and Gallipoli, Greece, and later, to Italy and France.
1918
Nov 8Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana experiences visions from sent by God. (Reed, 1979)
These transcendental visions gift Ratana healing powers to which many flock, and marks the start of the Ratana church
movement. This day is celebrated as the day of his maramatanga (revelation).
Nov 11The Armistice is signed, ending World War I. (Reed, 1979)
Nov 12The Niagra arrives in Auckland carrying twenty five people seriously ill with Spanish influenza. (Reed, 1979)
This marks the beginnings of the Spanish 'flu epidemic in New Zealand, which is also brought into the country by returning troops. Around 8600 people die by the end of the year. Māori are severely affected, with death rates around seven times higher than that of Pakeha.
1920Bush sickness affects many cattle farmers in the central North Island, forcing conversion to forestry.
1921
May 24First flight made between Auckland and Invercargill. (Reed, 1979)

Herbert Guthrie-Smith's book, Tutira: The Story of a New Zealand Sheep Station , the country's first environmental history, is published.
1922
Mar 28The predecessor to the Royal New Zealand Forest and Bird Protection Society is formed. (Reed, 1979)
May 22First set of mechanical traffic lights introduced in Auckland. (Reed, 1979)
Dec 17The Auckland Zoological gardens open. (Reed, 1979)
1923
Jan 9Writer Katherine Mansfield dies at a sanatorium in Fontainebleau, France.
1928
Jun 3Arapuni hydroelectric power station begins operation. (Reed, 1979)
1931
Feb 3A severe earthquake in the Hawke's Bay kills 256 people, mostly living in Napier. (Reed, 1979)
1932At the Ottowa Conference, British Denominations, including New Zealand, gain preferential access to the British market place. (Carden, 2007)
1933
Nov 3The New Zealand Antarctic Society is formed in Wellington in November. (Reed, 1979)
1934
May 8Jean Batten sets off on her record breaking flight from London to Darwin. (Reed, 1979)
1935
Mar 13Action is taken in the Legislative Council to movement to exterminate deer and goats in native forests. (Reed, 1979)

The Native Housing Act is passed. (Reed, 1979)
1937
Mar 1The Free Milk in Schools scheme is introduced. (Reed, 1979)

Prime Minister Michael Savage opens the first state house in Miramar, Wellington.
1939
Sep 3Britain declares War on Germany. New Zealand follows suit around ten hours later. (Reed, 1979)
An original recruitment drive for 6 600 men is started. Māori members of Parliament request that a special unit, the Maori Battalion, is set up for Māori volunteers.

The first edition of the New Zealand Listener is published. (Reed, 1979)
1940
Apr 22Regular air service between Auckland and Sydney begins. (Reed, 1979)
A regular trans-Pacific flight between Auckland and San Francisco begins in July 1940.
Jul 22Conscription is introduced, with all males ages between 18 and 46 eligible for call up to service via the ballot. (Reed, 1979)
Dec 4A meeting of the South Island Progress Leagues results in a request to government to address erosion issues. (Reed, 1979)
In September the next year, the Soils Conservation and Rivers Control Act comes into force.
1942
Mar 8Japanese reconnaissance planes fly over Wellington. On the 13th, Japanese planes fly over Auckland. (Reed, 1979)
Apr 23A diplomatic post to the USA is formally appointed, the first diplomatic position New Zealand holds outside of Britain. (Reed, 1979)
JunA large number of American servicemen begin to arrive in the country, particularly in Wellington.
Dec 19The Abel Tasman National Park is opened in a ceremony to mark the tercentenary of Abel Tasman's visit to the country. (Reed, 1979)
1943
Feb 25Japanese prisoners-of-war, jailed in Featherston, break out with the loss of forty-nine lives. (Reed, 1979)
Mar 1The first generator at the Waikaremoana hydroelectric power station begins operation. (Reed, 1979)
Oct 28Butter rationing begins. Meat rationing begins the next year. (Reed, 1979)
1945
May 8Victory in Europe. (Reed, 1979)
Jun 26New Zealand signs the United Nations Charter in San Francisco in June, along with 49 other nations. (Reed, 1979)
Aug 15Japan surrenders, thus ending World War II. (Reed, 1979)
Dec 18New Zealand formally accepts trusteeship of Western Samoa in December, under the new UN Trusteeship system. (Reed, 1979)
1947
Apr 1The Karapiro Hydroelectric Power Station begins operation. (Reed, 1979)
Nov 29North Island schools are closed due to a poliomyelitis epidemic. Schools are reopened in April 1948.
1948
Apr 11Tracks of the thought-extinct takahe (Nortinis mantelli) are discovered in Fiordland. (Reed, 1979)
The scientists photograph and catch a takahe in November of the same year.
May 14Mabel Howard becomes the first woman in New Zealand to hold a portfolio in Cabinet. (Reed, 1979)
Sep 1The first aerial pest control flight is conducted, dropping rabbit poison. (Reed, 1979)
Oct 12The first ever aerial top-dressing run is made by the RNZAF at Te Mata. (Reed, 1979)

Ground troops and naval forces are sent to the Korean War after requests from the United States.
1951
Feb 13Waterside workers and miners strike for several months, causing civil unrest and considerable economic disruption. (Reed, 1979)
Aug 13The Meals on Wheels service begins. (Reed, 1979)
Sep 1New Zealand, Australia and the United States of America sign the ANZUS Treaty for military cooperation. (Reed, 1979)

A pan-iwi approach to solving Māori social issues, the Māori Women's Welfare League is established.
1952
Jul 23Yvette Williams wins the Olympic gold medal for long jump with a record breaking leap. (Reed, 1979)
Sep 10Buses supplant trams in Invercargill. This is symptomatic of an increasing dependence on fossil-fueled transport systems. (Reed, 1979)

New Zealand population reaches two million.
1953
Apr 29Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norkay reach the summit of Mt Everest. (Reed, 1979)
Dec 24A lahar on Mt Ruapehu washes down the Whangaehu River, washing away the railbridge at Tangiwai, resulting in the derailment of the Wellington-Auckland train service. 151 people lose their lives. (Reed, 1979)
1954
Jul 28The Urewera National Park is officially gazetted. This has major ongoing implications for Tuhoe Māori. (Reed, 1979)

New Zealand gains a seat on the United Nations Security Council. (Reed, 1979)
1956New Zealand sends troops into Malaya.
1957The New Zealand-led Scott Base is established on the Ross Dependency, Antarctica. (Reed, 1979)
1958
Jun 28The first shipment of beef cattle to the United States leaves the country. (Reed, 1979)
Sep 3The first successful use of a lung-heart machine at Auckland's Greenlane Hospital. (Reed, 1979)
Nov 15The Wairakei thermal power plant generates commercial power for the first time. (Reed, 1979)
1959
Feb 23Broadcasting of experimental television from a low powered Auckland station begins. (Reed, 1979)
Regular programming begins in June 1960 with broadcasting being extended to seven nights a week on January 1st, 1961.
May 31The Auckland Harbour Bridge opens to traffic between Auckland City and the North Shore. (Reed, 1979)
It takes seventeen days for one million cars to cross the bridge.

Turners and Growers announce that the Chinese gooseberry, grown in New Zealand since 1904, would now be exported as the kiwifruit. (Reed, 1979)

New Zealand signs the Antarctica Treaty. (Reed, 1979)
1960
Sep 24A sewerage purification plant opens at Mangere. (Reed, 1979)
This sees twelve million gallons of raw sewerage diverted from the Waitemata Harbour daily (that is approximately 45 million litres)
1961
Oct 12Capital punishment is abolished. (Reed, 1979)

The first Golden Shears national shearing contest is held in Masterton. (Reed, 1979)

New Zealand joins the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and International Finance Corporation.
1962
Feb 22Gas and condensate are first produced in the Kapuni well. (Reed, 1979)
Mar 26The Māori Education Foundation Campaign is launched. (Reed, 1979)

The double-helix shape of DNA is uncovered using x-rays.
Maurice Wilkinson, along with two English scientists, is awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine for this discovery.

The New Zealand Māori Council is established.
1963Bob Charles wins golf's British Open. (Reed, 1979)
1964
May 30The Marsden Point oil refinery opens. (Reed, 1979)
Jun 21The Beatles begin their tour of the country. (Reed, 1979)
Oct 16Peter Snell wins the 800m gold medal at the Olympics. (Reed, 1979)

Mount Aspiring National Park is gazetted. (Reed, 1979)

Power cables across Cook Strait are laid. (Reed, 1979)

The population of Auckland reaches half a million.
1965
May 27PM Keith Holyoake announces that a New Zealand artillery contingent will be sent to Vietnam. (Reed, 1979)
Aug 31New Zealand and Australia sign the NZ-Australia Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). (Reed, 1979)
1966
Jan 29Auckland International Airport opens in Mangere. (Reed, 1979)

The New Zealand National Library is founded.
May 18The fifth Māori King, Koroki, dies. His daughter, Te Atairangi Kaahu, is crowned Māori Queen at Ngarawahia. (Reed, 1979)
1967
Feb 10The Milk in Schools scheme ends. (Reed, 1979)
Jul 10New Zealand changes to decimal currency. (Reed, 1979)
Oct 8The 'six o'clock swill' - law that pubs close at 6pm - first introduced as a war-time measure in 1917, ends. (Reed, 1979)
The law led to a considerable binge drinking culture as patrons hurried to get as much alcohol in as possible before 6pm.
1968
Feb 12Use of DDT pesticides on agricultural land is banned - the ban comes into force in June 1970. (Reed, 1979)
Apr 10The Wahine InterIslander service is wrecked on Barretts Reef on the entrance to Wellington Harbour during a severe storm, with the loss of 51 lives. (Reed, 1979)
Nov 25Ministry Transport Act is passed. (Reed, 1979)
1969
Mar 12Oil condensate, natural gas and heavy oil are discovered at the Maui I well off the Taranaki Coast. (Reed, 1979)
May 1Breath and blood tests for alcohol are introduced for drivers suspected of drinking. (Reed, 1979)
Sep 15Production begins at the Glenbrook Steel Mill, south of Auckland. (Reed, 1979)
Oct 20The Save Manapouri campaign gains national headlines.
1970
Jan 15The visit of the USA Vice-President, Spiro Agnew, sparks a protest outside his hotel by anti-Vietnam War campaigners.
1971
Feb 6The young Māori activist group, Nga Tamatoa, disrupts Waitangi Day celebrations at Waitangi.
Jul 17The country's first satellite station opens near Warkworth.
Nov 30The Tiwai Point aluminium smelter begins production.
Dec 17Race Relations Act passed, paving the way for the creation of the office of the Race Relations Conciliator.
1972
Oct 22Writer James K Baxter dies suddenly at age 46.

The Values Party is formed.
1973
Jan 1The United Kingdom joins the European Economic Community, forcing New Zealand to diversify its agriculture exports.
May 27New Zealand joins the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Jun 28A New Zealand naval frigate is sent to French Polynesia to protest against French nuclear testing in the Pacific.
Sep 15The first United Women's Convention is held in Auckland, indicating the increasingly important role of feminism in NZ.
Oct 31The first colour television broadcasts are made from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
Dec 3In response to the 'first oil shock', the government lowers the speed limit to 50mph and encourages car pooling.

New Zealand population reaches three million.
1974
Jan 25The Christchurch Commonwealth Games, dubbed the 'Friendly Games', open.
Aug 31The Labour Prime Minister, Norman Kirk, dies suddenly from surgery complications during his second year in office.
1975
Aug 12John Walker becomes the first person to run a mile in under 3 minutes 50 seconds.
Sep 14Whina Cooper, then 80 years old, leads the Te Ropu o te Matakite land march (hikoi) from Northland to Wellington.
Oct 10The passing of the Treaty of Waitangi Act initiates the formation of the Waitangi Tribunal.
The Act gives the provision for "the observance and confirmation of the principals" of Te Tiriti. While initially only investigating claims dating from the passage of the Act, in 1985 the Act was amended so that it could consider claims back to 1840.
Nov 7The country's first marine reserve is established at Cape Rodney-Okakari Point.
Dec 12Robert Muldoon (National) assumes the office of Prime Minister, holding the position for nine years.
1976
Jul 30The New Zealand men's hockey team and John Walker both win gold at the Montreal Olympics.
Sep 1Wanganui Computer Centre opens.
This became the New Zealand government's first centralised electronic storage facility, raising questions about the state's ability to gather information on its citizens.
Oct 21Police begin a series of dawn raids on Pacific Islanders' homes searching for overstayers, sparking considerable protest.
1977
Jan 5Ngati Whatua occupy land at Takaparawha (Bastion Point) to protest against the proposed sale of the land by the Crown.
The occupation continues until the eviction of protestors by police (by force) in May 1978. The land is eventually returned to Ngati Whatua in July 1988.
Feb 6Waitangi Day is celebrated for the first time as a public holiday, replacing New Zealand Day.
Sep 26The 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of ocean around New Zealand is established.
1979
Jul 30Car-less days are introduced as a result of the 'second oil shock', have very little effect, and are scrapped in December.
Nov 28Air New Zealand flight 901 crashes into Mt Erebus while on a tourist flight over Antarctica, killing all 297 people onboard.
1980
Feb 16TVNZ begins operation.

Split Enz scores the number one spot on the music charts in New Zealand and Australia
Nov 15Saturday morning trading is legalised again after a 45 year ban.
Dec 23The 'Independent State of Aramoana' is formed to protest against the planned aluminium smelter at Aramoana, Otago.
1981
Feb 1Australia wins a one-day cricket match over New Zealand with an underarm bowl by Trevor Chappel to Brian McKechnie.
May 1Protests against the Springbok rugby team begin and continue throughout the tour, till September.
May 15Kinetic sculptor and experimental film artist, Len Lye, dies.
1982
Apr 2The first "kohanga reo" (language nest) pre-school Māori language immersion programme opens in Wainuiomata.

The Patea Māori Club releases Poi E and the song tops the New Zealand music charts in 1984.
1983
Aug 2The United States nuclear war ship, Texas , visits New Zealand, sparking protests.
1984
Jun 14Robert Muldoon, then Prime Minister, calls a snap election to be held in one month's time.
Jul 14David Lange and the Labour Party win the general election with a landslide victory.
Jul 18The incoming government announces a number of urgent measures to combat the currency crisis.

Removal of agricultural subsidies sees New Zealand become one of the least regulated markets in the world.
This is just one of the sweeping changes the new Labour Minister of Finance, Roger Douglas, makes in his efforts to reform and deregulate the economy.

Auckland's population exceeds that of the South Island for the first time.
1985
Feb 1Anti-nuclear policy introduced by the Labour government prevents the US ship, Buchanan , from visiting New Zealand.
Mar 4The New Zealand dollar is floated for the first time.
Jul 10The Rainbow Warrior is bombed by French secret agents in Auckland after its involvement in protests at Mururoa Atoll against French nuclear testing. The bombing sinks the boat and kills one crew member.
Oct 31Keri Hulme becomes the first New Zealander to win the Booker Prize for her novel Bone People.

The Māori language (te reo) is recognised as a taonga under Te Tiriti.
Dec 9The Waitangi Tribunal is given retrospective power to consider claims dating back to 1840.
1986
Jul 9The Homosexual Reform Bill is passed, removing criminal sanctions against consensual male homosexual practice.
Oct 1The Goods and Services Tax Act (10% on all goods and services), another part of Rogernomics, comes into force.

The Environment Act is passed, leading to the establishment of the Ministry for the Environment and the office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.
1987
Apr 1The State Owned Enterprises Act is passed, turning a number of government departments into limited liability companies with an emphasis on efficiency and profitability.
May 27Colin McCahon, the eminent New Zealand modern artist, dies.
Sep 30The Waitangi Tribunal's ruling on the Murawhenua fisheries claim opens the door to more challenges by Māori on rights to the fishing quota system.
Jun 8The New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament and Arms Control Act is passed into law.
Jun 20The All Blacks win the first ever Rugby World Cup under the captaincy of David Kirk.
Aug 1The Māori language becomes and an official language under the Māori Language Act.

Conservation Act is passed, establishing the Department of Conservation.
Oct 14The stock market crashes. Share values fall 59% in four months.
1988
Mar 7Cyclone Bola hits the country, particularly affecting the north and east coast of the North Island.
Bola dumps nearly a metre of water on the East Coast hills, causing widespread slipping and underlining the problem of forest clearance in erosion prone areas.
Nov 12The first ever bungy jump is made at the Kawarau Bridge just outside of Queenstown.

432 post offices are closed by New Zealand Post.

The number of unemployed reaches 100 000.
1989
Aug 8David Lange resigns as Prime Minister, disillusioned by the direction of Labour policy. Geoffrey Palmer replaces him.
Dec 20The Māori Fisheries Act is passed.

Regulation drift netting comes into force, prohibiting both their possession and use within New Zealand's 200 nautical mile EEZ.

Janet Frame wins the Commonwealth Writers Prize for her novel The Carpathians .
1990
Jan 24Auckland hosts the Commonwealth Games.
Jul 14Māori leaders inaugurate the National Congress of Tribes.
Nov 2Jim Bolger leads the National Party into government.
Nov 13David Gray kills thirteen people during a shooting rampage at Aramoana, before he is shot by police the next day.
Dec 13The number of unemployed reaches 202 054, the highest ever total.
Dec 19National announces plans to slash benefits and other severe money-saving schemes in attempt to balance the budget.

The Ozone Layer Protection Act is passed, controlling imports and emissions of ozone-depleting substances.
1991
Jul 22The Resource Management Act is passed.
Jul 30Finance Minister Ruth Richardson delivers her 'Mother of all Budgets'.
1993
Aug 23The Biosecurity Act is passed.
May 19Jane Campion directed film, The Piano, is released to international acclaim.

Winston Peters forms the New Zealand First Party.
1994
Jun 10The Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act is passed.
Jul250 frontline troops are sent to the Bosnian conflict.

The government proposes a $1 billion cap for final settlement all Treaty of Waitangi claims.
28 OctMāori activist Mike Smith attacks the lone pine on top of One Tree Hill (Mangakiekie).
1995
SepThe Environment 2010 Strategy is released.
May 13Team New Zealand, lead by Sir Peter Blake, wins the America's Cup at San Diego, California.

The French renew nuclear testing at Mururoa Atoll, sparking considerable protest in New Zealand.
1996
Oct 12The first MMP election is held, resulting in a coalition government.
Nov 19The first OECD Environmental Performance Review of New Zealand is released.

Serious biosecurity threats, the white tussock moth and Mediterranean fruit fly are both found in Auckland.
1997
Mar 3Auckland's tallest building, the Sky Tower, opens.
Dec 8Jenny Shipley ousts Jim Bolger as National's leader in a coup, becoming the country's first female Prime Minister.

The rabbit calicivirus is illegally introduced into the country by South Island farmers after the government declines application for its release in July.

Winston Peters initiates the 'wine-box' enquiry.
1998
Feb 20The central Auckland business district is hit by a major power cut that lasts several weeks.
Nov 27The Labour party wins the general election, making Helen Clark the country's first elected female Prime Minister.

The Hikoi of Hope marches to Parliament, calling for greater support for the disadvantaged.
2000
Jan 1The Y2K bug causes considerable hysteria and stocking up of water supplies, but little else.
FebTeam New Zealand, and an army of red socks, successfully defends the America's Cup regatta held in Auckland.
Dec 19The first part of Peter Jackson's much anticipated film trilogy, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings , is released.

The Varroa bee mite is discovered in North Island hives.
2001Government places a moratorium on new marine farm applications, leading, eventually, to the Foreshore and Seabed Bill.
OctThe Fonterra Cooperative Group is formed by its 11 600 dairy farmer owners, becoming the world's largest dairy exporter.
2002
Dec 10New Zealand ratifies the Kyoto Protocol.

Ahmed Zaoui, an Algerian politician, is detained as a security threat after attempting to gain refugee status.
2003
Jun 30The population of the North Island exceeds 3 million for the first time.

Michael King's hugely popular Penguin History of New Zealand is published.

After pressure from Fish and Game New Zealand, the Clean Streams accord is developed and signed by the Government and Fonterra.
2004
Jan 29Highly regarded novelist and poet Janet Frame dies.
Mar 30Michael King, preeminent historian and biographer, dies in a car crash at Maramarua.
Nov 18The Seabed and Foreshore Bill is passed, making all land up to the hightide mark property of the Crown.
Both the passing of the Bill and the process with which the government went about it, greatly upsets large numbers of Māori, causing a huge hikoi to march to Parliament and sparking the formation of the Māori Party.
Dec 9The Civil Unions Act is passed, creating the institution of the civil union, is open to hetero and homosexual couples.
Dec 10Smoking in the workplace is banned.

Didymosphenia geminata, an invasive algae also known as rock snot, is found in some South Island rivers.
2005
Aug 4The government places a deadline on claims to the Waitangi Tribunal by 2008, and settlement on all claims by 2020.
Dec 21The Labour government abandons the proposed carbon tax.

The Environment Court rules that Solid Energy can proceed with a coal mine at Happy Valley, West Coast, resulting in continued protests and the relocation of hundreds of endangered endemic Powelliphanta snails.
2006
May 3The government announces that Telecom must 'unbundle' local loop services to help improve broadband uptake.
Jun 16The Varroa bee mite is found in the South Island for the first time, threatening the regions honey production.
Sep 28The Overlander train service between Wellington and Auckland, due to be axed, gets a last minute reprieve.