A fierce southerly storm sent Christmas campers scuttling for cover in 1933 as it chased them with waterspouts, shredded their tents, stripped fruit from trees, played amongst power and telegraph lines and deposited snow on North Island mountains.
Archive for the ‘History – Back Then’ Category
The complacency of Northland residents was shaken by two earthquakes in six weeks at the end of 1963. Until the severe quake of December 23rd it was widely believed that Northland was one area of New Zealand that was free of local earth tremors.
Anyone who has spent time in the peaceful town of Renwick in Marlborough can’t fail to be moved by the beauty of the place.
Between 1897 and 1904, New Zealand entered another of its geologically active periods, and three 7th magnitude earthquakes were experienced.
Having listened to Jim Sullivan’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the New Zealand Sound Archive on Radio New Zealand National this morning, my mind turned to other historical things. What was happening in Poverty Bay on this day in 1887?
The dramatic eruption which destroyed the island volcano of Krakatau (Krakatoa) on the 27th of August 1883 was the culmination of a three-month period of heightened activity.
The morning of Tuesday the 9th of August 1904 was like any other as Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, began to emerge from winter. With New Zealand Mean Time set eleven-and-a-half hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, only the earliest risers would have had to turn up the gas lamps or light oil lamps as they opened curtains and shutters and rummaged about their houses getting ready to go to work.
In recent weeks, I’ve spent a great deal of time looking through 120 year-old newspapers while researching for a book that I’m writing. After many hours of electronically turning the pages (the papers are online) one gets a sense of the historical events unfolding as if in a movie.
People act out their lives, businesses crash, pubs close, councils and boards meet, bridges are built, buildings burn to the ground – the printed word generates an impression of a newsreel playing out on the screen.
So it came as a shock when I turned one electronic page and found the editor of the Poverty Bay Herald looking straight back at me from 1889.
The magnitude 6 earthquake which struck the Bay of Plenty area on the 2nd of March 1987 is remembered as the “Edgecumbe Earthquake” even though it was centred close to the coastal town of Matata. The damage it caused was most severe in Edgecumbe and nearly as severe in Kawerau, Matata, Thornton and Te Teko, with surface ruptures spreading across the Rangitaiki Plains.
During the preceding month, swarms of earthquakes had unnerved the residents of Kawerau and Edgecumbe and distinct foreshocks were felt at Matata and Thornton prior to the main earthquake.
The second of a pair of 7th magnitude earthquakes struck the Wairarapa district just after midnight on the 2nd of August 1942.
The two quakes, which struck 5 weeks apart, caused extensive local damage but stunned officials by causing serious damage many kilometres away in Wellington. The experience was to have wide-reaching ramifications for local and national government policy.
The 120th anniversary of the eruption of Mt Tarawera on the 10th June 1886 was widely remembered earlier this year.
Vulcanology was poorly understood at the time, so it’s not surprising that a series of events which had occurred 5 years earlier were not fully appreciated, despite being widely reported in the nation’s newspapers during 1881.
Residents of Poverty Bay had felt many of the aftershocks of the Hawke’s Bay quakes of February 1931 and, as they decreased in frequency, life began to return to normal.
Forty kilometres inland from Gisborne, at the small settlement of Tiniroto, the 40-odd residents were well-advanced with building and chimney restoration work by May of 1931. However, they had noticed a peculiar aspect of the earthquakes since February.
Three months after the devastating Hawke’s Bay earthquake and firestorm, communities along much of the North Island’s eastern coast were still in recovery and assessment mode.
Clearance of rubble had largely been completed in Manawatu, Wairarapa and the Gisborne – East Coast areas. Insurance assessors were still busy compiling their reports, and many chimneys had been repaired or replaced in preparation for the winter months.
New Zealand’s largest earthquakes during the 1960s struck in the South Island, and killed 3 people. Both quakes were magnitude 7 and they occurred on May 24th, eight years apart.
April is a month when various parts of New Zealand experience impressive thunderstorms.
Last month was no different, with people in Waikato and Coromandel reporting a thoroughly entertaining thunderstorm which kept many awake for hours late in the month.
Earlier in April, Wellington experienced noisy thunderstorms on three successive nights on the 8th, 9th and 10th.