Make your own free website on

(Continued "Transport)

into the back of another train in heavy rain at the Rakaia station in Canterbury.

1903  Aviation.  March.  some claim South Canterbury farmer Richard Pearse was the first

person in the world to achieve powered flight.
  However, dates put forward have ranged from March 1902 to March 1904 but there is insufficient reliable evidence to support them.
1904  Rail.  June.  Railways Minister Sir Joseph Ward laid the foundation stone for the Dunedin Railway station.
...Electric Trams.  June 30. 
The first section of Wellington's electric tramway from Newtown to Kent Terrace, went into service.  Other lines opened during the year.

1905  Electric Trams.  June 5.  Christchurch's electric Tramway opened.

1908 Rail.  August 6.  A train dubbed the Parliamentary Special used temporary track to make the journey from Wellington to Auckland.  The track was laid to allow Parliamentarians to visit

the US Great White Fleet in Auckland and to attend a performance of Mother Goose, but the train was late and they missed the performance!
...November 6.  Rail. The
last spike was driven t Manganui-o-te-Ao to complete the North Island Main Trunk.

1909 Rail.  Regular services began between Wellington and Auckland.  The first train took 118.25 hours to complete the journey.
...Aviation.  Leo and Vivian Walsh
formed the Aero Club of New Zealand.  The Canterbury Aero Club was founded by George Bolt and others and the first model aircraft society was established in Auckland.

1911 Aviation.  5 February.  Vivian Walsh made the first controlled powered flight in New Zealand, at Papakura.  This was a Howard Wright biplane imported in kit form, and assembled by the Walsh brothers and their two sisters in their own workshop.

1912. Electric Trams.  March 12.  The South Island's first electric tram service began running to the suburbs of Waikiwi, Georgetown and North and South Invercargill.

1913  Electric Trams. Electric trams began operating in Napier, first linking the town with Port Ahuriri and later the railway station and Hastings St.

1918.  Rail.  Accidents.  8 November.  The Auckland Wellington Express ran into a landslip and was derailed at Mataroa.  4 passengers were killed.

1923 Rail.  4th August.  The Otira Tunnel and New Zealand's first electric railway were opened between Arthur's Pass and Otira.
...Electric Trams.  Auckland's tramway system grew in tandem with the city between 1923 and 1932.  The Great South Road and Zoo lines opened by 1923;  Pt. Chevalier and Meadowbank by 1930;  Owairaka and Mt Albert by 1931 and Avondale by 1932.
Accidents.  6 July.  A landslide at Ongarue claimed the lives of 17 passengers on the Auckland Wellington Express.

1924  Electric Trams -
Trolley Buses.  Failing to get legislative authority to extend the city's tramway system, Wellington City Council introduced New Zealand's first trolley-bus service between Thorndon and Kaiwharawhara which ended in 1932.

1925 Rail.  6 December.  The first through Express Train ran from Auckland to the Bay of Islands. A continuous line now ran from Okaihu to Wellington, a distance of 994 kms.

1936  Rail.  Accidents.  30 July  The Auckland Wellington Express struck a landslip south of Paraparaumu railway station.  One person died and four were injured.
...Railcars.  The beginning of the Railcar era began with the building of 5 single-ended 49 seater petrol-engined cars for the Wairarapa line.

1937 Rail.  19 June.  Wellington's Railway Station was opened.

1938  Trolley-Buses.  19 December.  Auckland's first trolley-bus service began when the Farmers Trading Co offered shoppers free transport from Wyndham Street to Hobson Street.

1945 Rail.  15 December.  The last main line between Picton and Christchurch was completed.  Clarence had been reached in 1942 and Kaikoura in 1944.

1946 Aviation.  The first jet flew over New Zealand. This was a Gloster Meteor.

1953  Rail.  Accidents.  THE TANGIWAI DISASTER. On Christmas Eve 1953, 151 people died when the northbound Auckland Express was swept off the Wangaehu River Bridge.  (See disasters).

1962.  Rail Ferries. The Rail ferry Aramoana began service in Cook Strait between Welllington and Picton. Other vessels followed;  the Aranui 1966;  Arahanga 1972;  Aratika 1974;  and Arahura 1983.

1968  Shipping.   WAHINE DISASTER.T he Inter-island Ferry "Wahine" left Lyttelton on 10 April with 734 passengers and was buffeted by heavy seas the result of the worst storm recorded by that date, in which the winds gusted up to 125 knots.  She was carried on to the Barrett Reef near the entrance to Wellington Harbour. At about 2.320 p.m. on 11 April the ship sank and despite heroic rescue attempts 51 died, including three children.

1979 Air.  EREBUS DISASTER. Air New Zealand plane crashes on Antarctic Mt Erebus, 257 passengers perished.


Home   Index   Back