- Chinese gooseberry becomes kiwifruit
- Baby-farmer Daniel Cooper hanged
- All Blacks win the first World Cup
- The Beatles land in NZ
- Parker-Hulme murder in Christchurch
- World court condemns French nuclear tests
- New Zealand Truth hits the newstands
- HMNZS Otago sails for Mururoa test zone
- World's first female Anglican bishop appointed
- First issue of NZ Listener published
15th June 1959
Chinese gooseberry becomes kiwifruit
The prominent produce company Turners and Growers announced that they would from now on export the Chinese gooseberry under the name ‘kiwifruit’. Introduced to this country in 1904, kiwifruit are now grown worldwide, with New Zealand-grown fruit marketed as ‘Zespri’.
Despite the name, kiwifruit are not native to New Zealand. Seeds were brought to New Zealand in 1904 by Mary Isabel Fraser, the principal of Wanganui Girls’ College, who had been visiting mission schools in China. The seeds were planted in 1906 by a Whanganui nurseryman, Alexander Allison, and the vines first fruited in 1910. People thought it had a gooseberry flavour and began to call it the Chinese gooseberry. It is not related to the Grossulariaceae family to which gooseberries belong.
New Zealand began exporting the fruit to the US in the 1950s. This was the height of the Cold War and the term Chinese gooseberry was a marketing nightmare for Turners and Growers. Their first idea, ‘melonettes’, was equally unpopular with US importers because melons and berries were subject to high import tariffs. In June 1959, Jack Turner suggested the name kiwifruit during a Turners and Growers management meeting in Auckland. This was adopted and later became the industry-wide name.
The Bay of Plenty town of Te Puke markets itself as the ‘Kiwifruit Capital of the World’. It was here that New Zealand’s kiwifruit industry began. Italy is now the leading producer of kiwifruit in the world, followed by China, New Zealand, Chile, France, Greece, Japan and the US. Most New Zealand kiwifruit is now marketed under the brand-name Zespri, partly as a way of distinguishing ‘Kiwi kiwifruit’ from that produced by other countries.
16th June 1923
Baby-farmer Daniel Cooper hanged
A generation after the hanging of the infamous Minnie Dean, the murder trial of Daniel and Martha Cooper revealed that ‘baby farming’ and illegal abortion were still considered solutions to the problem of unwanted children in 1920s New Zealand.
After being under police surveillance for some time, Daniel Cooper was arrested on 30 December 1922 for performing an abortion. Following the discovery of a female baby’s body at the Coopers’ Newlands property on 3 January 1923, he and his wife Martha were charged on four counts of illegally detaining children and one of murder. By the time the trial began on 14 May, two more babies’ bodies had been unearthed at Newlands.
After months of feverish press coverage, the Wellington Supreme Court was jam-packed for the trial. Martha’s lawyer, the distinguished barrister and Liberal politician T.M. Wilford, portrayed his client as a victim of mistreatment by Daniel, describing her as ‘a soulless household drudge without a mind of her own’. This was a sharp contrast with a reporter’s depiction of Daniel: ‘a small man … with dark piercing eyes set far back in his head and a mouth like the seam in a saddle bag’.
The jury cleared Martha of murder and the other charges against her were then dropped. Daniel was found guilty and sentenced to death. His appeal against the verdict was dismissed and he was hanged at the Terrace Gaol, Wellington, on 16 June.
20th June 987
All Blacks win the first World Cup
With Michael Jones, John Kirwan and captain David Kirk scoring tries, the All Blacks defeated France 29–9 at Eden Park, Auckland. Kirk became the first (and so far only New Zealand) captain to lift the Webb Ellis Cup.
The first Rugby World Cup was hosted by New Zealand and Australia. Rugby powerhouse South Africa did not compete due to the international sports boycott that was in place because of its apartheid policies.
In the opening match of the tournament All Black winger John Kirwan ran almost the length of the field, beating most of the Italian team to score a memorable try. The All Blacks won 70–6 and went on to win their pool after comfortable victories over Fiji and Argentina. Their form carried over into the knock-out phase, in which Scotland was defeated 30–3 and Wales 49–6 before the final showdown with France.
The Webb Ellis Cup has since proven to be an elusive holy grail for New Zealand players and fans. Despite dominating the world rankings, 1987 remains the All Blacks’ only World Cup success. The closest they have come to repeating their 1987 victory came in the 1995 final, which they lost in extra time to South Africa. The All Blacks have also suffered three semi-final defeats, in 1991, 1999 and 2003. In the 2007 tournament they recorded their worst-ever result in World Cups when they were defeated by France in the quarter-finals.
21st June 1964
The Beatles land in NZ
Beatlemania hit New Zealand when 7000 hysterical fans greeted the Fab Four in Wellington during their ‘Far East’ tour. After stints in the United States, Europe, Hong Kong and Australia, the lads from Liverpool finally touched down in New Zealand.
They came at the start of a new era. During the 60s young New Zealanders, with the help of broadcast television, were beginning to tune in to an international youth culture. The Beatles’ fame preceded them and our teenagers were ready for action. At Wellington Airport, police struggled to restrain crowds behind a wire fence. Police dogs were called in when rapturous fans besieged the Beatles’ hotel.
On 22 June the Beatles played their first New Zealand concerts, repeating a 30-minute 11-song set, as fans screamed and punctured the seats of the Wellington Town Hall with their stiletto heels. Audiences in Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin followed suit. Possibly the most dangerous moment of the Far East tour came in Auckland, where the Beatles faced a mob of several thousand people with little police protection. They were trampled and mauled, and John Lennon lost a clump of hair.
The tour had a big impact on New Zealand’s rock ’n’ roll and pop music scene. Local artists such as Ray Columbus, Howard Morrison, and Max Merritt and the Meteors benefited from a surge of interest in the Beatles’ wake.
The Beatles were one of the most famous and commercially successful bands in popular music history. Their quest for new sounds and the social awareness expressed in their songs were a major influence on pop culture around the world in the 1960s.
22nd June 1954
Parker-Hulme murder in Christchurch
Armed with a brick in a stocking, 16-year-old Pauline Parker and her best friend Juliet Hulme, 15, became two of New Zealand’s most notorious murderesses when they killed Pauline’s mother, Honora, in Victoria Park, Christchurch.
Entangled in a classic folie à deux, the teenagers shared a fantasy world of princes, damsels, heroes and villains. Dreams of Hollywood stardom were threatened when their parents decided that the girls’ friendship had become obsessive and co-dependent. Plans were afoot for Juliet’s family to leave New Zealand.
Their week-long trial was fraught with sensation. Testimony arguing the pair’s insanity was rejected. The pair were found guilty, sentenced to indefinite imprisonment, and ordered never to contact each other again.
In a decade when − if the Mazengarb Report is to be believed − teenagers terrorised the nation, this case drew extraordinary attention both here and overseas. It remains one of New Zealand’s most infamous murders and lives on in popular culture, having inspired both a play, Michaelanne Forster’s Daughters of heaven, and Peter Jackson’s Academy Award-nominated film Heavenly creatures.
The two young women were released after serving about five years in prison. Juliet Hulme later changed her name to Anne Perry and became a successful writer. Both she and Parker now live in the United Kingdom.
23rd June 1973
World court condemns French nuclear tests
The ruling by the International Court of Justice was part of New Zealand’s long campaign against French nuclear testing in the Pacific. While the French initially ignored the court’s interim injunction and carried on testing in the atmosphere, continuing protests soon forced them to move the tests underground.
New Zealanders had actively opposed French nuclear testing since the mid-1960s, when the tests were shifted from the Sahara to its Polynesian territories. Mururoa Atoll in the Tuamotu Archipelago became the focal point for both the tests and opposition to them. Greenpeace vessels sailed into the test site in 1972, delaying tests by several weeks.
In 1973 the New Zealand and Australian governments took France to the International Court of Justice in an attempt to ban the tests. France ignored the court’s ruling that they must cease testing, but mounting international pressure forced them to switch to underground tests the following year.
24th June 1905
New Zealand Truth hits the newstands
At its peak in the 1950s and 1960s, New Zealand Truth prided itself on being ‘the champion of the little person and the scourge of corruption and scandal in high places’.
The weekly newspaper was founded by Australian John Norton, who modelled it on similarly populist papers across the Tasman. A colourful character, Norton was an alcoholic megalomaniac obsessed with Napoleon and Julius Caesar. In its first decades Truth described itself as ‘The People’s Paper’, and until the 1920s it took a markedly left-wing stance on many issues. It regularly attacked ‘wowsers’ (a word invented, or at least popularised, by Norton in Australia around 1900), fat-cat businessmen, hypocritical politicians and faith healers. By 1928, it was selling almost 100,000 copies each week.
According to historian Redmer Yska, in the mid-20th century Truth ‘became the voice of the “ordinary New Zealander”. By the 1950s, one in two New Zealand households bought it. Respectable readers always claimed an interest in the recipes and racing pages − never the spicy scandals and divorces.’ Although the paper relied on crime and deviance for much of its news, it also had a deep concern for conformity, morality and law and order.
In the 1960s and 70s Truth became increasingly conservative, railing against ‘Reds under the bed’, Pommy unionists, bludgers and long-haired students. By the time its office moved from Wellington to Auckland in the early 1980s, both the paper’s readership and its influence were on the wane.
28th June 1973
HMNZS Otago sails for Mururoa test zone
Prime Minister Norman Kirk told the 242 crew of the Otago that their Mururoa mission was an ‘honourable’ one − to be ‘silent witness[es] with the power to bring alive the conscience of the world’.
Following France’s refusal to accept an International Court of Justice injunction against its atmospheric nuclear testing, the Labour government decided to send two frigates, HMNZS Canterbury and Otago, into the international waters around the test area. A Cabinet minister would accompany this daring protest. Kirk put all the names into a hat and drew out that of Fraser Colman, the minister of immigration and mines.
The Otago arrived off Mururoa a month later, and those on board witnessed the first French test. Colman transferred to HMNZS Canterbury when it arrived to relieve the Otago on 25 July, and he and the crew of the Canterbury watched the second test.
The protests had some success. In 1974 the new French president, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, decided that future tests would be held underground. But as long as testing continued, Mururoa would remain a focus of anti-nuclear protest.
29th June 1990
World's first female Anglican bishop appointed
Dr Penny Jamieson’s rise through church ranks was rapid. Women had first been ordained to the Anglican priesthood in 1977. Jamieson was ordained and appointed to a Wellington parish in 1985. She was elected by her peers to the see of Dunedin just five years later.
Born in England, she married New Zealander Ian Jamieson and moved with him to Wellington. There she worked with the Wellington City Mission while writing her doctoral thesis. It was during this time that she developed a vocation to the priesthood.
Her appointment as Bishop of Dunedin in June 1990 did not meet with universal approval. Bishop Whakahuihui Vercoe refused to attend the ceremony. He did not believe that it was culturally appropriate to have a female bishop. He still held this opinion when he was appointed Anglican Archbishop of New Zealand in 2004.
For her part, Jamieson saw her appointment as giving ‘enormous encouragement’ to women in all churches and in society at large. She felt that ‘the glass ceiling’ had been broken. At her investiture as a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2004, though, she expressed disappointment that no other women had yet followed in her footsteps.
The Right Reverend Dr Penny Jamieson retired in June 2004. In August 2008 The Right Reverend Victoria Matthews, formerly Bishop of Edmonton, Canada, became New Zealand’s second woman bishop when she was elected Bishop of Christchurch.
30th June 1939
First issue of NZ Listener published
Free to all 380,000 radio licence holders, the New Zealand Listener soon expanded its original brief, which was to publicise radio programmes. Today it is the country’s only national weekly current affairs and entertainment magazine.
‘To what purpose is this waste?’, asked one disgruntled reader in 1939. Fortunately he was in the minority, and the Listener was welcomed by many as a cut above the alternative, the gossipy Radio rag.
Founding editor Oliver Duff and his successor, Monte Holcroft, established a reputation for sturdy independence. Famous for his editorials, Holcroft was once called into the office of the assistant director of broadcasting after taking a stand against the British seizure of the Suez canal – a bold move for the official journal of the government’s New Zealand Broadcasting Service. It was not until 1990 that the Listener was ‘privatised’ and bought by New Zealand Magazines, now part of APN Specialist Publications NZ Ltd.
From major stories to RHW’s famous crossword, the Listener has published the serious, the trivial and everything in between. Features such as a 1939 war diary about clothes for the well-dressed soldier, Aunt Daisy’s instructions for cooking a swan, and the recent ‘Power Lists’ of influential New Zealanders have traced our changing preoccupations over the years.
From the outset the arts have been a major focus. The Listener has published works by leading figures such as James K. Baxter, Janet Frame and Maurice Shadbolt.
Circulation peaked at 375,885 in 1982. Some feared the Listener’s demise when it lost its monopoly on programme schedules in the free-market 1980s, but it adapted and survived. It remains one of New Zealand’s top-selling magazines.
and earlier this month...
- NZ's first official TV broadcast
- Colin 'Pinetree' Meads born
- Te Kooti deported to Chathams
- New Zealand becomes nuclear free
- Eruption of Mt Tarawera
- Death of Richard Seddon
- First US troops land in Auckland
- Muldoon calls snap election
1st June 1960
NZ's first official TV broadcast
Broadcast from Shortland Street in central Auckland, New Zealand’s first official television transmission began at 7.30 p.m. The first night’s programming lasted just three hours and could only be seen in Auckland. The first broadcast included an episode of The Adventures of Robin Hood, a live interview with a visiting British ballerina and a performance by the Howard Morrison Quartet.
The television age was slow to arrive in New Zealand. Britain’s BBC led the way when it started the world’s first public service in 1936. The NBC began broadcasting in the United States in 1939. Australia had its first stations operating by 1956.
In New Zealand, a government committee began studying the new medium in 1949. Some experimental broadcasts began in 1951 with the proviso that they should not include anything that could be classified as ‘entertainment’. A final decision to proceed with public broadcasts was made by Prime Minister Walter Nash in 1959.
Initially television broadcasts had limited coverage. Transmission did not begin in Christchurch until June 1961; Wellington followed four weeks later. Dunedin had to wait until 31 July 1962. By 1965 the four stations were broadcasting seven nights a week – a total of 50 hours. There was no national network and each centre saw local programmes. Overseas shows were flown from centre to centre and played in different cities in successive weeks. By 1969 the four television stations were broadcasting for 65 hours each week, between 2 p.m. and 11 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday and 2 p.m. and midnight at the weekend.
Television licences, which cost £4 each year (equivalent to $164 in 2010), were introduced in August 1960. By 1965 more than 300,000 had been issued. Operating costs were also partly offset by the introduction in 1961 of what many see as the scourge of modern TV – advertising. Initially advertisements were allowed between Tuesday and Thursday and on Saturdays. More revenue was raised from television licences than from advertising.
In February 1966, the average price of a 23-inch black and white television ‘consolette’ was £131, equivalent to more than $4600 in 2010.
3rd June 1936
Colin 'Pinetree' Meads born
The legendary All Black lock was a physically tough and uncompromising player. Rugby writer Lindsay Knight described him as New Zealand’s equivalent of Australia’s Sir Donald Bradman or American Babe Ruth as a sporting legend.
Between 1957 and 1971 Meads played 133 matches for the All Blacks, including 55 tests (four as captain). He earned a reputation as one of the greatest ever players. Meads personified the New Zealand style of rugby and became a genuine folk hero. He was a backblocks farmer who remained loyal to his small rural provincial union, King Country, as both a player and an administrator. In the age of professional rugby Meads has been seen by the media and the public as a champion of the game’s traditional values.
After hanging up his boots Meads turned to administration and coaching. He became chairman of the King Country union and then a national selector in 1986. He was axed from the latter position that year when he coached the Cavaliers team which made an unauthorised tour of South Africa. After a spell on the outer, Meads was welcomed back into the fold in 1992, when he was elected to the New Zealand Rugby Union’s council. He managed the All Blacks at the 1995 World Cup in South Africa.
In 1999 Meads was named as New Zealand’s Player of the Century by the New Zealand Rugby Monthly magazine. He has been inducted into the International Hall of Fame and the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame. His significance to wider New Zealand society was confirmed in 2001 when he was made a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. In 2009 he accepted the equivalent honour, a knighthood, and became Sir Colin Meads.
5th June 1866
Te Kooti deported to Chathams
The East Coast military leader and prophet was deported with Pai Marire prisoners to the Chatham Islands. He had been accused of spying for the enemy while fighting with government troops.
As a young man Te Kooti (of Ngati Maru and Rongowhakaata descent) had gained a reputation as a troublemaker. His own tribal leaders described him as a ‘terror to the district’. He upset local Pakeha (European) traders by undercutting their monopoly of trade with Auckland. He had made powerful enemies in both communities.
In 1865 he was among the few Ngati Maru who did not convert to the Pai Marire religion. He joined government forces fighting against Pai Marire Hauhau at Waerenga-a-Hika, near Gisborne, in November 1865. Te Kooti was arrested after a Rongowhakaata chief accused him of supplying gunpowder to those inside the pa. The charges could not be proved and he was released, but rearrested in March 1866. His trading rival, J.W. Harris, advised Donald McLean, the government’s agent on the East Coast, that Te Kooti was a nuisance whom they ‘ought to get rid of.’
In June Te Kooti was sent, without trial, to Wharekauri (Chatham Island) with a party of Pai Marire prisoners. While there, he experienced spiritual visions. This led to the establishment of the Ringata Church, which combined elements of the Old Testament with Maori custom. In July 1868 Te Kooti and his followers on the Chathams seized the supply ship Rifleman. With 163 men and 135 women and children aboard, the vessel sailed for New Zealand. It made landfall just south of Poverty Bay on 10 July.
Te Kooti told Reginald Biggs, the Resident Magistrate at Gisborne, that he and his followers did not want to fight Europeans. He asked for safe passage to the King Country, where he hoped to strengthen his position as a spiritual leader. When Te Kooti rejected a demand that he give up his arms, Biggs led local volunteers and kupapa in pursuit of his party. The first fighting broke out on 20 July.
8th June 1987
New Zealand becomes nuclear free
The New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act was passed into law, establishing this country as a nuclear and biological weapon-free zone.
The Act was passed in the aftermath of the nuclear ships stand-off between New Zealand and the United States which led to the breakdown of the ANZUS alliance. In a largely symbolic action, the US Congress retaliated with the Broomfield Act, downgrading New Zealand’s status from ally to friend. Prime Minister David Lange responded by saying that if the end of the security alliance was the cost of New Zealand’s nuclear-free status, then ‘it is the price we are prepared to pay’.
In 1989, 52% of New Zealanders indicated that they would rather break defence ties than admit nuclear-armed ships. By 1990 even the National opposition had signed up to anti-nuclearism.
10th June 1886
Eruption of Mt Tarawera
The eruption lasted six hours and caused massive destruction. Several villages were destroyed, along with the famous silica hot springs known as the Pink and White Terraces. Approximately 120 people, nearly all Maori, lost their lives.
Eleven days before the eruption, passengers travelling on a tourist boat with the renowned guide Sophia Hinerangi reported seeing a phantom war canoe on Lake Tarawera. Tribal elders believed this was a waka wairua (spirit canoe) – an omen of doom. More tangible signs included an increase in hot spring activity and surges in Lake Tarawera.
In the early hours of 10 June, locals awoke to earthquakes, lightning, fountains of molten rock, and columns of smoke and ash up to 10 km high. People as far away as Blenheim heard the eruption. Some thought it was an attack by a Russian warship which had recently visited Wellington.
A 17-km rift split Mt Tarawera and extended as far as Waimangu. The land was covered with millions of tonnes of ash and debris. Lakes were transformed and bush was flattened. The eruption was over by about 6 a.m., though the ash made day as dark as night. Once the darkness abated, men from Rotorua and Ohinemutu formed rescue parties and began digging out survivors and casualties. The settlements of Te Tapahoro, Moura, Te Ariki, Totarariki, Waingongongo and Te Wairoa were destroyed. Te Wairoa, where many survived by sheltering in the stronger buildings, is now a tourist attraction, ‘The Buried Village’.
New Zealand’s volcanoes still pose a risk today. A geological hazard monitoring scheme, GeoNet, is being developed by the Crown research institute GNS Science and the Earthquake Commission. GeoNet has an alert system that is activated when volcanic activity increases.
Death of Richard Seddon
Known as ‘King Dick’, Seddon had dominated New Zealand politics since the early 1890s. The Liberal government that he headed as Premier from 1893 is widely credited with establishing the tradition of state-supported welfare in this country. Seddon died at sea while returning from Australia to what he called ‘God’s own country’.
11th June 1901 Cornwall Park gifted to Auckland
At a civic reception for the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York, Mayor John Logan Campbell handed over the deed to land around One Tree Hill. The new park was named in honour of the royals.
The Duke and Duchess (later King George V and Queen Mary) were touring the Empire to express gratitude for the support given to Great Britain during the South African War. During their visit to New Zealand, Campbell – an early Pakeha settler widely regarded as the ‘father of Auckland’ – was asked to be honorary Mayor of Auckland. He used the opportunity to gift the land to the people of Auckland and asked that it be named Cornwall Park.
The park is centred on a volcanic cone which Maori called Maungakiekie – mountain of the kiekie (a climbing plant). The site of a pre-European pa, it became known to Pakeha as One Tree Hill after a solitary tree which grew on the summit when Europeans first settled Auckland.
Sir John Logan Campbell is buried beside the obelisk at the summit.
12th June 1942
First US troops land in Auckland
Between 1942 and 1944 about 100,000 American servicemen were stationed in New Zealand, which became a rear base for the Allies’ counter-offensive against Japan. This American ‘invasion’ led to a considerable clash of cultures.
At any one time between June 1942 and mid-1944 there were between 15,000 and 45,000 American servicemen in camp in this country, mainly around Auckland and Wellington. Most spent time in New Zealand either before or immediately after experiencing the horrors of warfare on a Pacific island. As well as soldiers and marines, many US naval and merchant marine personnel had a stint in this country.
For both visitor and host it was an intriguing experience with much of the quality of a Hollywood fantasy. The American soldier found himself ‘deep in the heart of the South Seas’ – a land of tree-ferns and semi-tropical ‘jungle’ – in the words of his army-issue pocket guide. Little wonder that marine Leon Uris would later write a novel about the experience (Battle cry) and that Hollywood itself would make a film (Until they sail), based on a James Michener story, with Paul Newman as the troubled heart-throb.
14th June 1984
Muldoon calls snap election
Prime Minister Robert Muldoon surprised many by announcing a ‘snap’ election to be held in one month’s time, on 14 July. He hoped to catch the opposition Labour Party under-prepared, but the gamble backfired and National suffered a heavy defeat.
The dominant politician of his era, Muldoon had held power since 1975. He now found himself increasingly under pressure, grappling with economic uncertainty, backbench criticism and a resurgent opposition led by the charismatic David Lange.
Despite the short notice, the election on 14 July was organised efficiently and produced the highest official turnout − 93.7% − in New Zealand’s history. Labour swept to victory with 43% of the vote to National’s 36%, and 56 Parliamentary seats to their rival’s 37. Social Credit held the other two seats. Labour’s winning margin was inflated by the performance of the newly formed right-wing (but anti-Muldoon) New Zealand Party, which won 12% of the vote but no seats.
The 1984 election is often regarded as the most significant in New Zealand’s modern history. Labour’s victory was followed by some of the most far-reaching economic and state sector reforms ever seen in this country, as well as new directions in foreign policy.