Earthquake damage on Worcester Street, corner Manchester Street, Christchurch on 4 September 2010
17–19 January: Prince William of Wales visits New Zealand, and represents The Queen officially for the first time by opening the new Supreme Court building in Wellington.
25 April: Three members of the air force are killed when their Iroquois helicopter crashes on the way to Wellington for Anzac day commemorations.
13 July: Two police officers are injured and police dog Gage is killed after being confronted by an armed offender during a routine drugs search in Phillipstown, Christchurch. Gage would later be posthumously awarded the PDSA Gold Medal after taking a fatal gunshot wound protecting his injured handler.
4 August: Lieutenant Tim O'Donnell becomes the first New Zealand fatality of the War in Afghanistan after his convoy is attacked.
4 September: The 7.1 magnitude 2010 Canterbury earthquake causes widespread damage and several power outages, particularly in Christchurch.
4 September: All nine passengers on board are killed in a Fletcher FU24 crash, the worst aircraft crash in New Zealand in 17 years.
17 September: MP and Corrections Minister David Garrett resigns from the ACT party caucus after revelations that in 1984 he obtained a false passport using details of a deceased child.
17–22 September: A "storm the size of Australia" passes to the south of New Zealand bringing snow, rain, gales, tornadoes and causing widespread damage – 72,000 homes lost power, and the roof of a stadium collapsed under a snow load in Invercargill and numerous roads are closed.
1 October: The largest reform in the tax system since the 1980s takes effect: GST is raised to 15%, company tax rates drop from 30% to 28%, and the top tax bracket falls from 38% to 33%.
5 October: Breakfast broadcaster Paul Henry is suspended by TVNZ after questioning if New Zealand's ethnic minority Governor-GeneralAnand Satyanand, is a proper New Zealander. On 7 October Henry is embroiled in further controversy as his mockery of Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit is declared "racist" and "unacceptable" and New Zealand's ambassador to India is summoned for a dressing down. Henry resigns from TVNZ on 10 October.
27 October: After crisis talks with Warner Bros executives, Prime Minister John Key announces the $670 million project to film The Hobbit will go ahead in New Zealand. Acting unions had threatened to boycott the movies, leading Warner Bros and New Line to consider taking the production elsewhere.