The Institute is currently working on the third edition of Nation Dates.

Prior to the publication of each edition of Nation Dates, the Institute shares the events that are being considered for inclusion and invites the public to comment or suggest significant events themselves.

The second edition of Nation Dates was published in November 2012; therefore, ideas for entries before this date may already be included. To submit feedback, please comment on this site or email

Below is a preliminary (and rough) list of events that have been suggested thus far. These are headlines; each entry will contain an explanatory paragraph if published. Please note that the events below are listed with the primary intention of generating discussion and will not necessarily be included in the third edition.


1773 Captain James Cook brews first beer at Dusky Sound
1796 First sailing ship built in New Zealand
1815 First Christian Service
1819 Samuel Marsden plants first grapevines for wine
1821 First strike by New Zealand workers
1837 Missionaries petition
1837 The New Zealand Association formed
1838 The People’s Charter
1839 Mary Bumby recorded as first person to introduce honey bees
1839 New Zealand Gazette first published
1841 First criminal sitting of the Supreme Court of New Zealand and first hanging
1843 Meeting between Fitzroy and Te Rauparaha
1852 The New Zealand Constitution Act 1852
1854 Maori meeting in Taranaki
1867 Royal Society of New Zealand
1867 New bird species introduced
1867 Brown trout introduced from Tasmania
1870 The University of New Zealand founded
1871 First Agent-General appointed
1875 Helen Connon becomes first woman to attend lectures at Canterbury College
1877 Education Act
1878 Lincoln University Opens
1887 First hydro-electric station
1889 Maritime Labour Council of New Zealand established
1891 Land and Income Assessment Act 1891
1892 Land Act
1894 Richard Henry becomes caretaker of Resolution Island
1895 Williamina Dean is the first and only woman to be hanged in New Zealand
1895 George Vernon Hudson first to think of daylight saving
1901 Socialist Party formed
1901 Ernest Godward’s hairpin invention
1906 Auckland Tram Strike
1906 International Expo in Christchurch
1910 The Maoriland Journal is published
1912 Black Tuesday results in death of Fred Evans
1912 Unity Conference held
1913 Employers’ Union create ‘defence fund’
1914 Education Act
1919 First airmail flight
1930 Atmore Report published
1930 Ascension of NZ cricket to test status
1932 Ratana and Labour Party coalition formed
1935 Jean Batten flight
1954 Hamilton Jet Boat
1956 Colin Murdoch invents disposable syringes
1962 Maori Welfare Act
1962 The Council for Volunteer Service Abroad established
1963 Roy Kerr solves physics equation
1967 Water and Soil Conservation Act 1967
1967 Beatrice Tinsley publishes her thesis ‘Evolution of Galaxies and its Significance for Cosmology’.
1968 National Development Conference 68 and 69. Represented a different model of planning the future of the nation to anything seen since.
1975 Private Schools Conditional Integration Act
1977 New Zealand Planning Act
1982 First building to be constructed on lead-rubber bearings
1986 Tom Te Wahi legal decision that he had a right to customary fishing forced the actions on giving Maori a share of fisheries by highlighting that Maori common law rights existed
1989 Congress of Tribes established
1989 Act Maori right to fishing resources
1990 National Maori Congress
1991 NZ Dairy Research Institute introduces spreadable butter
1992 Mountain Buggy invented
1992 Sealord Settlement
1993 Marie Clay’s book Reading Recovery: Guidelines for Teachers in Training sells eight million copies world wide
1994 Lady Kathleen Rigg, pioneer female botanist dies
1994 Treaty of Waitangi fiscal cap introduced
1996 Creation of the New Zealand Treasurer. Winston Peters the first appointee.
1996 Appointment of Lord Cooke to the Privy Council
1998 Lincoln Agreement
1999 World’s first transsexual to be voted into parliament
2000 Appointment of Sir Don McKinnon to Secretary General of the to the head of the Commonwealth Secretariat.
2003 Māori Television Service Act (Te Aratuku Whakaata Irirangi Māori)2003
2004 Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004
2005 Iwi Chairs Forum
2008 Glenn Martin invents world’s first practical jetpack
2008 Dieback disease identified as a threat to kauri trees
2009 William Hayward Pickering and Beatrice Tinsley names on Kepler Mountains in the Fiordland National Park
2009 Iwi leaders forums
2009 Water rights issues raise ghost of the Maori Council
2009 kickStart breakfast in schools programme introduced
2012 Whanganui River granted legal identity
2013 Same sex marriage legalised
2013 Immigration Amendment Act 2013 passed
2013 Fonterra botulism scare
2013 David Shearer resigns as Labour leader
2013 Government Communications Security Bureau and related legislation Bill passed
2013 Eleanor Catton wins Man Booker prize
2013 Asset sales referendum
2013 Constitutional Review Panel report released
2014 New Zealand serves on the UN Security Council for the first time since 1994
2014 Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics published
2014 Te Urewera ceases to be a national park
2014 Net migration to New Zealand hits new record high
2015 Government passes ban on animal testing
2015 Cancellation of Campbell Live
2015 Euthanasia case before High Court
2015 Medical marijuana approved for one-off use
2015 New Green Party leader
2015 Teina Pora absolved
2015 Mark Lundy conviction upheld
2015 NZ troops deployed to Iraq
2015 Tenders released for petroleum exploration permits
2015 NZ Navy chases illegal fishing vessels
2015 Special Housing Areas (SHAs) identified
2015 TPPA negotiations continue
2015 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta
2015 John Key in ‘Tailgate’
2015/2016 National flag referendum