Archive for the ‘History – Back Then’ Category

Mt Ngauruhoe’s History

Sunday, April 30th, 2006

My own index of J.A. Mackay’s “Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.” provides a handy reminder to research events in the history of Poverty Bay.

Mackay reminds me that on this day, April 30th, in 1948 “when Mt Ngauruhoe was active … grey, gritty ash, not quite as fine as flour, drifted over Poverty Bay.”


The Seddon Earthquake of 1966

Thursday, April 20th, 2006

On average, New Zealand experiences an earthquake of magnitude 6 or greater once a year. However, just seven weeks after Gisborne experienced a damaging magnitude 6 earthquake in 1966 New Zealand was, against the odds, to experience another strong shake. What’s more, the second magnitude 6 quake was to occur near two sizeable towns and the country’s second biggest city, causing minor damage.

The Seddon earthquake of 1966 damaged commercial buildings and dwellings on both sides of Cook Strait.


Gisborne Flood 1910

Sunday, April 2nd, 2006

A four-day deluge at the end of March 1910 caused widespread damage and disruption in Gisborne and Wairoa. One man was drowned.

J.A. Mackay records “Continuous rain from midday on 28 March until the afternoon of 1 April, 1910 (17.27 inches) [439 mm] led to a flood that was 18 inches [457 mm] higher in and around Te Hapara than the 1876 flood. At Bushmere the Waipaoa River rose 27 feet [8.2 metres] above normal level.”


The Pahiatua Earthquake of 1934

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

Just before midnight on Monday the 5th of March 1934, people throughout the lower North Island were startled from their sleep and ran for doors as a severe earthquake struck. Chimney bricks rained into houses, windows shattered and furniture tipped over; the ground rumbled and there was a great noise of goods being thrown about while slips ran down hillsides, bells rang and window weights clanged.

A woman collapsed and died of fright as did a man as he fled his damaged home. In Wellington, the carillon bells rang as the clappers struck the fixed bells while the tower swayed.


Wairoa Earthquake Swarm, March 1976

Monday, March 20th, 2006

Thirty years ago, the residents of Hawkes Bay, Wairoa and Gisborne were greatly alarmed by the swarm of shallow earthquakes that plagued the area in late March of 1976.

The swarm, centred about 30 km south of Wairoa, included four 5th magnitude earthquakes which caused considerable damage in the township.


Arthur’s Pass Earthquake 1929

Wednesday, March 15th, 2006

The powerful Arthur’s Pass earthquake of 1929 was the first of a series of nine strong earthquakes that were to cause serious damage and loss of life in New Zealand as it reeled from the effects of The Depression.


The Gisborne Earthquake of 1966. Part 4: Fractious Times

Monday, March 6th, 2006

As Gisbornites set about sweeping up the rubble, repairing damage and returning to a normal life, a fractious interlude occurred during the week after the earthquake.


The Gisborne Earthquake of 1966. Part 3: The Aftermath

Sunday, March 5th, 2006

The scientific and engineering collaboration which resulted in a joint publication about the Gisborne earthquake of the 5th of March 1966 provides a valuable insight into the causes of, effects of, and restorative work required as a result of a large earthquake. Unlike a modern day report which would probably be toned down so as not to offend anyone, the conclusions and recommendations were clear and to the point.


The Gisborne Earthquake of 1966. Part 2: Facts & Figures

Saturday, March 4th, 2006

The magnitude 6.2 earthquake which caused considerable damage in Gisborne on the 5th of March 1966 was centred within 20 km of the city at a depth of 25 km. It struck at 11h 58m 57s on a Saturday morning.


The Gisborne Earthquake of 1966. Part 1: The Experience

Friday, March 3rd, 2006

Saturday the 5th of March 1966 started like any other late summer Saturday morning. Dairies were open for their weekend trade, but in Gisborne the town shops and offices remained closed as they always did in the days before the liberalisation of weekend trading.


Blown to Smithereens

Wednesday, March 1st, 2006

During February 1918, wreckage began to drift ashore between Cape Runaway and Wairoa. A ship’s boat bearing the name Bertha Dolbeer made the coast at Whakaki, parts of a ship’s hull drifted onto the beaches at Te Araroa, Tolaga Bay and Pouawa. Portions of benzine cases were found on Kaiti Beach.

The mystery deepened when a hat amongst wreckage at Te Araroa contained a pad made from a San Francisco newspaper dated 17/6/1917.

It soon emerged that a terrible fate had befallen the master and crew of the American-owned schooner Bertha Dolbeer, en route from San Francisco to Wellington. A fire had broken out among her cargo of 9,000 cases of benzine, and she had been blown to pieces off the East Coast.

[source: Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z. J.A. Mackay, 1949]

s.s. Manapouri Tragedy 1886

Sunday, February 26th, 2006

Great excitement ran through Gisborne on the afternoon of Friday February 26th 1886 when the steamer Manapouri entered Poverty Bay flying signals for a doctor.


Earthquakes at Oamaru in 1876

Saturday, February 25th, 2006

Early on Saturday the 26th of February 1876, Oamaru residents were startled from their beds by the first of several large earthquakes. Earthquakes in this area of the South Island are unusual, and the shocks were unexpectedly large.


The 1863 Earthquake near Hawke’s Bay

Thursday, February 23rd, 2006

Nearly 90 years after the first earthquake was reported by a European in New Zealand, the residents of Hawke’s Bay experienced their first officially recorded major earthquake on this day in 1863.


Tragic Flash Flood, 1938

Sunday, February 19th, 2006

An unexpected deluge on the East Coast caused widespread damage and claimed 22 lives on the 19th of February 1938. Communities between Wairoa and Te Araroa were swamped by what was described as a “cloudburst” which carried away bridges and houses, and washed away roads and hillsides.