1879 in New Zealand
Regal and viceregal
- Head of State — Queen Victoria
- Governor — The term of The Marquess of Normanby ends on 21 February. Sir Hercules Robinson takes up the appointment on 27 March.
Government and law
- Speaker of the House — Maurice O'Rorke becomes Speaker when his predecessor, Sir William Fitzherbert, is appointed to the Legislative Council.
- Premier — John Hall replaces Sir George Grey on 8 October.
- Minister of Finance — John Hall replaces Sir George Grey on 8 October. Grey had taken up the post on 10 July after John Ballance had resigned on 1 July.
- Chief Justice — Hon Sir James Prendergast
Voting rights are extended to all males.
The term of parliament is reduced from five years to three years.
Main centre leaders
- Mayor of Auckland — Thomas Peacock
- Mayor of Christchurch — Henry Thomson followed by Charles Thomas Ick
- Mayor of Dunedin — Henry John Walter
- Mayor of Wellington — Joseph Dransfield followed by George Allen followed by William Hutchison
- 21 February: An explosion in the coal mine at Kaitangata kills 34 men.
- 30 March: The Ross Guardian ceases publication. It began in 1866.
Major race winners
- New Zealand Cup — Chancellor
- New Zealand Derby — Hornby
- Auckland Cup — Ariel
- Wellington Cup — Maritana
The first annual competition between clubs from different centres begins between Christchurch and Dunedin clubs.
- 26 July: The first union in New Zealand, Canterbury Rugby Football Union, is formed at Timaru, incorporating Christchurch, Christ's College, Temuka, North Canterbury, Eastern, South Canterbury, Ashburton, and Southbridge rugby clubs.
- 20 October: The Wellington Rugby Football Union is formed, initially consisting of the Wellington and Athletic clubs.
Ballinger Belt — Corporal W. Ballinger (Wellington)
- 30 August (in London): Maud Ruby "Daisy" Basham, radio personality.
- Miriam Cummings (later Miriam Soljak), activist.
- 2 February (in England): General Sir Thomas Pratt, commander British forces in NZ 1860–61.
- 24 April – John Munro, politician (d. 1798/99)
- 14 July: Thomas Outhwaite, first registrar of the Supreme Court.
- List of years in New Zealand
- Timeline of New Zealand history
- History of New Zealand
- Military history of New Zealand
- Timeline of the New Zealand environment
- Timeline of New Zealand's links with Antarctica
- Romanos, J. (2001) New Zealand Sporting Records and Lists. Auckland: Hodder Moa Beckett. ISBN 1-86958-879-7
- New Zealand Parliament - Parliament timeline
- New Zealand History online: Today in History - 21 February
- "HOKITIKA. March 31". North Otago Times. 1 April 1879. p. 2. Retrieved 21 June 2008.
- List of New Zealand Chess Champions
- Todd, S. (1976) Sporting Records of New Zealand. Auckland: Moa Publications. ISBN 0-908570-00-7
- edited by A. H. McLintock (1966). "RUGBY UNION FOOTBALL". An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. Te Ara — The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Archived from the original on 8 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-13.
Media related to 1879 in New Zealand at Wikimedia Commons