List of disasters in New Zealand by death toll
This is a list of New Zealand disasters by death toll, listing major disasters (excluding epidemics and acts of war) which occurred in New Zealand and its territories or involved a significant number of New Zealand citizens, in a specific incident, where the loss of life was 10 or more.
List of disasters
|Deaths||Name or description||Type||Date||Location||Notes|
|257||Air New Zealand Flight TE901||Air accident||28 Nov 1979||Mt Erebus, Ross Dependency, Antarctica||Controlled flight into terrain|
|256||1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake||earthquake||3 Feb 1931||20 km north of Napier|
|200+||1820s Southland Tsunami||tsunami||1820s||Orepuki Beach||exact number killed unknown but according to Maori oral histories greater than 200|
|189||HMS Orpheus||shipwreck||7 Feb 1863||off the Manukau Heads near Auckland|
|185||February 2011 Christchurch earthquake||earthquake||22 February 2011||Christchurch|
|151||Tangiwai disaster||rail accident / lahar||24 Dec 1953||NIMT Whangaehu River bridge, between Waiouru and Ohakune||rail bridge destroyed by lahar from Mount Ruapehu|
|135+||1st Little Waihi landslide||landslide||1780||Te Rapa/Waihi Village|
|131||SS Tararua||shipwreck||29 Apr 1881||off Waipapa Point|
|121||SS Wairarapa||shipwreck||29 Oct 1894||off Great Barrier Island|
|108–153||Mount Tarawera eruption||volcanic eruption||10 Jun 1886||Mount Tarawera|
|87||Fiery Star||shipwreck||11 May 1865||240 km off the Chatham Islands|
|75||SS Penguin||shipwreck||12 Feb 1909||off Cape Terawhiti|
|68||General Grant||shipwreck||May 1866||Auckland Island|
|65||Brunner Mine disaster||mine accident||26 Mar 1896||Brunner|
|65||2nd Little Waihi Landslide||landslide||7 May 1846||Waihi Village||Tribal leader Mananui Te Heuheu Tukino II and most of his family were killed in the landslide|
|53||TEV Wahine||shipwreck||10 Apr 1968||Barrett Reef, Wellington Harbour|
|52||City of Dunedin||shipwreck||20 May 1865||off Cape Terawhiti||There are estimates of between 250 and 600 passengers perishing, but these reports were 20 or more years later|
|51+||Blizzard and Flood of 1863||floods and blizzards||Jul 1863 - Aug 1863||Central Otago goldfields||The actual death toll was probably higher because of the transient nature of the miners and the ruggedness of the country|
|48||Featherston Prisoner of war camp riot||Riot||25 Feb 1943||Featherston, New Zealand|
|45||SS Elingamite||shipwreck||9 Nov 1902||off West Island in the Three Kings Islands|
|43||Ralph's Mine||mine accident||12 Sep 1914||Huntly|
|41||Ballantyne's store disaster||fire||18 Nov 1947||Christchurch|
|40+||Great storm of 1868, flash floods and 12 shipwrecks||storm||3 Feb 1868||Predominantly eastern areas of New Zealand||Death toll likely understated as impact on many Maori unknown|
|37||Seacliff Lunatic Asylum||fire||8 Dec 1942||Seacliff|
|34||SS Taiaroa||shipwreck||11 Apr 1886||Clarence River mouth|
|34||Kaitangata Mine disaster||mine explosion||21 Feb 1879||Kaitangata|
|34||Dunedin||shipwreck (presumed)||1890||between Oamaru and London|
|30||Marlborough||shipwreck (presumed)||1890||between Lyttelton and London|
|29||Pike River Mine disaster||mine explosion||19 November 2010||northwest of Greymouth|
|29||MV Kaitawa||shipwreck||23 May 1966||near Pandora Bank, Cape Reinga|
|26||Barque Maria||shipwreck||1851||Cape Terawhiti|
|25+||Storm of 1897||floods and shipwreck||16 Apr 1897||North Island||flooding at Clive, boating accidents, and the wreck of the Zuleika near Cape Palliser. 25 confirmed deaths and 6 unconfirmed|
|25||MV Joyita||ghost ship||Oct 1955||En route from Apia, Samoa to Tokelau|
|24||Assaye||shipwreck (presumed)||1890||between London and Wellington; wreckage washed up at the Chatham Islands 7 months after the ship left London|
|23||New Zealand National Airways Corporation Flight 441||air accident||3 Jul 1963||Kaimai Ranges|
|22||launch Ranui||shipwreck||30 Dec 1950||off Mount Maunganui, Bay of Plenty|
|21||Hyde railway disaster||rail accident||4 Jun 1943||near Hyde|
|21||Kopuawhara flash flood of 1938||flood||19 Feb 1938||Destroyed the Kopuawhara railway workers camp|
|21||brigantine Sophia Pate||shipwreck||Aug 1841||Kaipara Harbour|
|20||schooner St. Vincent||shipwreck||1869||Palliser Bay|
|19||Strongman Mine||mine explosion||19 Jan 1967||near Greymouth|
|18||Canoe on Lake Rotorua||boating accident||16 Apr 1870||near Mokia Island on Lake Rotorua|
|18||Canoe on Motu River||boating accident||4 Aug 1900||Motu River - 25 miles from Opotiki||There were 16 children and 2 adults in the six person canoe|
|18||Clyde||shipwreck||6 Nov 1884||Horseshoe Bay, near Akaroa, Banks Peninsula|
|18||Lastingham||shipwreck||1 Sep 1884||Cape Jackson, Cook Strait|
|18||schooners Enterprise and Tauranga||shipwreck||23 Jul 1870||between Cape Rodney and Sail Rock, Hauraki Gulf|
|17||1929 Murchison earthquake||earthquake||17 Jun 1929||Murchison|
|17||North Island Main Trunk express||rail accident ||6 Jul 1923||Ongarue|
|16||Capitaine Bougainville||shipwreck||3 Sep 1975||Whananaki|
|16||1943 Liberator crash at Whenuapai||air accident||2 Aug 1943||Whenuapai|
|15||Brynderwyns bus accident||road accident||7 Feb 1963||Brynderwyn Hills|
|15||MV Holmglen||shipwreck||24 Nov 1959||near Timaru|
|15||Lockheed Lodestar airliner crash||air accident||18 Mar 1949||near Waikanae|
|15||Derry Castle||shipwreck||20 Mar 1887||Enderby Island, Auckland Islands|
|14||Cave Creek disaster||structural failure||28 Apr 1995||Paparoa National Park|
|14||Aramoana massacre||spree killing||13 Nov 1990||Aramoana, near Dunedin|
|14||Two Hudson bombers lost off the New Zealand coast||air accident||21 Aug 1944||en route from Fiji||No. 4 Squadron RNZAF|
|14||floods||17 Jan 1858||Hutt Valley|
|13||NAC Electra air crash||air accident||23 Oct 1948||on Mount Ruapehu|
|13||SS Ventnor||shipwreck||28 Oct 1902||off Omapere, Hokianga|
|12||barque Dundonald||shipwreck||7 Mar 1907||Disappointment Island, Auckland Islands|
|12||Barque Lizzie Bell||shipwreck||24 Jul 1901||Waimate, Taranaki|
|12||Cafe Chantant fire, The Octagon, Dunedin||fire||8 Sep 1879||Dunedin|
|12||ferry Pride of the Yarra and paddle steamer Favourite||collision||6 Jul 1863||Otago Harbour|
|12||Alcmène||shipwreck||3 Jun 1851||Baylys Beach, Kaipara|
|12||Brigantine Rio Loge||shipwreck (presumed)||Jan 1909||Last seen in Cook Strait on 14 January, en route from Kaipara to Dunedin||May have caused the wreck of the Penguin a month later.|
|12||Cyclone of 1936||storm||1 Feb 1936||North Island and upper South Island||A tropical cyclone that originated near the Solomon Islands|
|11||2012 Carterton hot air balloon crash||air accident||7 Jan 2012||near Carterton|
|11||Glen Afton mine, carbon monoxide asphyxiation||mine disaster||24 Sep 1939||Huntly|
|11||B17 bomber crash||air accident||12 Jun 1942||RNZAF Base Auckland at Whenuapai|
|10||Aspiring Air Britten-Norman Islander, collided with terrain||air crash||8 Aug 1989||Upper Dart Valley|
|10||Brig Australia||shipwreck||23 May 1873||off Cape Campbell|
|10||Husky and Argo lost to storm in yacht race||shipwrecks||21 Jan 1951||between Wellington and Christchurch|
|10||sulphur mine destroyed||lahar||10 Sep 1914||Whakaari/White Island|
Significant international events involving New Zealanders
|470||Cospatrick||fire||17 Nov 1874||640 km south-west of the Cape of Good Hope, en route to Auckland||Only 3 people survived|
|100||The Trevelyan (immigrant ship en route from Glasgow)||storm||3 Jun 1888||Presumed foundered off the South African coast, en route to Port Chalmers, New Zealand|
|89||Knowsley Hall||shipwreck (presumed)||1879||between London and Lyttelton|
|79||Matoaka||shipwreck (presumed)||1869||between Lyttelton and London|
|10||Bere Ferrers rail accident, train hit NZ troops on tracks by platform||train accident||24 Sep 1917||Bere Ferrers, Devon, UK|
- List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll (worldwide)
- List of disasters in Australia by death toll
- List of disasters in Canada by death toll
- List of disasters in Great Britain and Ireland by death toll
- List of New Zealand-related topics
- Earthquakes in New Zealand
- List of rail accidents in New Zealand
- List of natural disasters in New Zealand
- Bateman New Zealand Encyclopedia, edition 4 (1995). Article: |earthquake 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake, Hawke's Bay region, Napier
- Welch, Denis (4 February 2006). "Shake, Rattle & Roll". New Zealand Listener (3430): 29–30. A larger death toll of 258 includes two missing, presumed dead.
- "List of deceased – Christchurch earthquake". New Zealand Police. 9 February 2012. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
- Waihi Landslide, GeoNet News, Vol. 2, February 2003, p. 7. Death toll calculated by subtracting death tolls for two later landslides (64 and 1 in 1846 and 1910 respectively) from the total of "more than 200" given for all three.
- The eruption's death toll is uncertain. While 153 is a commonly quoted figure, only 108 named victims have been identified. Death list, Anheizen.com.
- In 2007, the General Manager of the Earthquake Commission said that "... Ngati Hinemihi oral accounts put the death toll in the thousands." David Middleton (2007). A Roof Over Their Heads? The challenge of accommodation following disasters. (Accessed 2008-04-12.)
- Five more died before the survivors were rescued 18 months later.
- Brunner mine disaster
- Lamorna Cooper, Hipaua Steaming Cliffs and Little Waihi Landslide, Tephra, Vol. 19, June 2002, 42-47.
- Hura, Elizabeth. "Mananui Te Heuheu Tukino II". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved December 2011.
- The original Wahine death toll was 51; two names were added 22 and 40 years later. Three more people were killed by Cyclone Giselle elsewhere in New Zealand.
- New Zealand Disasters - Mining: Ralph's Mine, Christchurch City Libraries.
- New Zealand disasters timeline, Ministry for Culture and Heritage.
- Great storm of 1868, flash floods and 12 shipwrecks
- Disasters and Mishaps – Shipwrecks, from An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock, originally published in 1966, updated 2007-09-18.
- Dunedin, which cites W.H. Brett's White Wings: Fifty years of sail in the New Zealand Trade, Vol. I. 1925.
- Beswick, Angela. "Pike River: Second explosion, no survivors". 3 News. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
- New Zealand Disasters - Sinking of MV Kaitawa - 1966
- Clive floods - Hawkes Bay, North Island - Good Friday 16 April 1897
- The Wreck of The "Zuleika", Palliser Bay. Quotes from NZ Truth, 16 March 1976.
- Field, Michael (6 March 2012). "1955 Pacific mystery to be finally marked". stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
- All 25 on board were missing when the boat was found, and are presumed dead.
- New Zealand Disasters - Ranui sinking - 1950
- New Zealand Disasters - Kopuawhara flood, Christchurch City Libraries.
- Ryburn, Wayne (1999). Tall Spars, Steamers & Gum. Auckland, N.Z.: Kaipara Publications. p. 230. ISBN 0-473-06176-7.
- "Not many remember the Sophia Pate".
- New Zealand Disasters - Strongman Mine Explosion, Christchurch City Libraries.
- Rotorua. Terrible boat disaster — Eighteen natives drowned, Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXVI, Issue 3953, 23 April 1870, Page 4
- Casualties, Evening Star , Issue 11329, 25 August 1900, Page 8
- "Sad boating disaster". The Daily Telegraph (9835). 7 August 1900. p. 5. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
- Clyde, Dive New Zealand Magazine.
- The Lastingham Wreck, Paul's Dive Planet.
- New Zealand Historical Data - Ship "Tauranga"
- Eileen McSaveney, Historic earthquakes - The 1929 Arthur’s Pass and Murchison earthquakes, Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Updated 2007-09-21. Accessed 2008-01-05.
- Whananaki Coastal Walk
- Livingstone, Bob (1998). Under the Southern Cross: The B-24 Liberator in the South Pacific. Turner. p. 115. ISBN 1-56311-432-1.
- New Zealand Disasters - Brynderwyns bus accident, Christchurch City Libraries.
- Disasters and Mishaps – Shipwrecks - Holmglen, from An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock, originally published in 1966, updated 2007-09-18.
- "The Derry Castle". Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Retrieved 2009-04-18.
- [13 murder victims plus perpetrator]
- A. H. McLintock, ed. (1966). "Pre-war and Wartime Accidents". An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 7 January 2012.
- Weekly Feature - Early settler had leading role, Wairarapa Times-Age, 17 May 2003.
- Disasters and Mishaps – Shipwrecks - Ventnor, from An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock, originally published in 1966, updated 2007-09-18. The cargo included the remains of 499 Chinese miners who had died in NZ and whose remains were being repatriated. The wreck was discovered in December 2012.102-year-old SS Ventnor shipwreck mystery revealed.
- Three more died before being rescued.
- New Zealand Disasters - Barque Lizzie Bell sinking - 1901
- Octagon building fire, Dunedin - 8 September 1879
- Wreck information, Quay Stuff.
- Wreck of the Alcmène
- "The Rio Loge". Press (Wellington). Press Association. 13 February 1909. p. 11. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- "Supposed Hull of Rio Loge". Poverty Bay Herald. 22 February 1909. p. 5. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- Stacey Wood; Greer McDonald (11 February 2009). "Search for wreck of Penguin". Dominion Post. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- Eight destructive New Zealand storms, Marilynn McLachlan, New Zealand Herald, Auckland, 4:00 PM Friday Mar 14, 2014 Retrieved 26 January 2016
- "Hot air balloon crash near Carterton kills 11". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 2012-01-07.
- Sherwood, Alan & Phillips, Jock. "Coal and coal mining". Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 2009-04-18.
- Lomas, David (10 April 2010). "Secret deaths". The New Zealand Listener. Retrieved 2012-01-07.
- "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 2009-04-17.
- "Loss of the brig Australia, at Cape Campbell". Grey River Argus. 7 June 1873. p. 2. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- "Yacht Wrecked in Ocean Race". The Press. 29 January 1951. p. 6. Retrieved 2009-04-18.
- A death toll of 12 is sometimes given. This may include two miners who died during the year before the lahar.
- John Wilson, The voyage out - Fire on the Cospatrick, from Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Updated 2007-09-21. Accessed 2008-05-20.
- The Mercury newspaper (Hobart, Australia), , Tuesday 30 October 1888
- Board of Trade Wreck Report for 'Knowsley Hall', 1880, Board of Trade, 1880. Accessed 2008-05-21.
- The Missing New Zealand Ship 'MATOAKA', which cites The Times, London, 22 March 1870, page 9. Accessed 2008-05-21.
- BBC - Devon - News - Bere Ferrers unveils memorial to 10 New Zealand soldiers killed in a train accident in 1917